Published: May 28, 2024

The German Sports Betting Association (DSWV) issues warning over black market growth

The German Sports Betting Association (DSWV) warns that Germany's offshore sports betting market is drawing a growing number of players away from regulated offerings. To halt this development, stricter enforcement should be taken against black market operators, while simultaneously taking steps to increase the attractiveness of legal alternatives.

From the perspective of the DSWV, the primary focus for both the industry and regulatory authorities should thus be a determined effort to combat the growing black market, the association said in a statement.

The migration of many players to the black market is clearly visible in the decline of tax revenues. In 2023, legal sports betting operators in Germany recorded bets totaling 7.72 billion euros, a decrease of 5.4 percent compared to the previous year.

This has several consequences. First, there is a need to expand the betting options available to providers, enabling them to effectively compete with the extensive assortments offered by illegal operators.

Second, in the face of the ongoing political debate regarding an advertising ban, the DSWV is vehemently opposed to any calls for a reduction of legal advertising or sponsoring. Legal providers must develop robust brands to distinguish themselves from black market operators. Moreover, advertising plays a crucial role in guiding players towards regulated products.

At a public meeting of the Sports Committee of the German Bundestag on May 15, 2024, experts supported the DSWV position and rejected a ban on sports sponsorship. They emphasized the importance of sponsorship - including from the betting industry - for German sports. A ban on sponsoring would be disastrous for German sports organizations.

While the decline of Germany's onshore sports betting market remains modest for now, the country's onshore virtual slots market has halved since 2021. Both developments can be reasonably understood as the consequences of severe overregulation in the German market.

German regional court rules that player claim suits are to be referred to the ECJ

The Regional Court of Erfurt has ruled that player claims against unregulated online operators – in so far as the issues raised touch upon EU law – must henceforth either be suspended or referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

This ruling covers suits against both sports betting and casino operators, which means that questions could be raised before the ECJ that go beyond Germany's previous sports betting regime which – due to some specific intricacies of prior German regulations – has been explicitly found to be not compliant with EU law.

This means the ECJ could rule in such a way that its findings will also impact player compensation suits in other EU countries.

Since Austria-based operator Betano withdrew its highly anticipated appeal before the Federal Court of Justice of Germany (BGH) in an unrelated player claim case, the Erfurt regional court ruling remains – for now – controlling precedent.

271,400 players registered in German exclusion database

Germany's national exclusion database OASIS contains 271,400 individual player registrations, of which 261,800 were voluntary.

In the past twelve months, an average of around 90 million system queries were carried out every month. Since 2022 – apart from scheduled maintenance – there has been one major ten-hour outage, as well as six briefer other outages that lasted only a few minutes.

OASIS is being administered by the Darmstadt Regional Council.

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