Germany Approves 50 Online Gaming Licenses

New German gaming regulator Germany’s Gemeinsamen Glücksspielbehörde der Länder (GGL) has so far approved about 50 online gaming licenses since it took over on January 1, 2023. Nevertheless, it has earned a reputation as Europe’s toughest market for unlicensed sites.

Germany Approves 50 Online Gaming Licenses

Germany’s Gemeinsamen Glücksspielbehörde der Länder (GGL) has so far approved nearly 50 online gambling licenses since it took over regulation of the federal gaming market created by the Fourth Interstate Gambling Treaty (GlüNeuRStv).

GGL has also proved an unrelenting foe of illegal gaming. It is already considered the toughest market for unlicensed sites, although it only took over January 1, 2023. Prior to that date, the regulator took 18 months to prepare for that role.

Co-Executive Directors Ronald Benter and Benjamin Schwanke issued this statement: “We have our finished house and are now able to work,” adding, “This is a remarkable achievement, in that when the new State Treaty on Gambling came into force on July 1, 2021, the establishment of the authority had to be started from scratch.”

The agency has a staff of 75 as of January 1, with the expectation of having 104 by the end of the year. The online gaming market so far includes 38 sports betting licenses and 22 online gaming permits.

Even so, there is a backlog for licensing online games and poker sites. It has so far gotten 78 applications but so far licensed only 25.

According to Benter, this backlog was created because many operators did not submit games for inspection with their applications. He said, “By the end of 2022, almost 600 of the 3,500 individual game approvals applied for had been checked and approved.”

The regulator said it would continue to reject game applications lacking required materials, such as failing to provide a German-language manual. Some operators have not been added to the official list of operators due to owing outstanding security deposits.

Before January 1, 2023 GGL was aware of 1,000 illegal websites and 100 marketing campaigns that target Germans. As a result it has begun 60 plus prohibition procedures and filed over 30 civil complaints. It has filed 150 cases against illegal gambling advertising and inspected over 1,150 illegal gaming websites.

Schwanke commented, “We will ensure that it is no longer worthwhile to gamble illegally.”

GGL is currently considered to be the most “comprehensively supervised market” in the E.U. It is aided by “enforcement instruments” given by the federal states that allow it to order IP addresses blocked and to put payment freezes in place.

The authority also has the power to “revoke permits,” where warranted. Schwanke declared, “We will also proceed consistently when it comes to enforcement. Every provider who is not on the whitelist will be picked up, no matter how big it is.”