Update: German Sports Betting Regulation

By Dr. Michael Stulz-Herrnstadt and Christoph Engelmann

The state parliament of Schleswig-Holstein announced that it will not approve the new State Treaty on Gambling. They want to push for an entire new law that includes licenses for online casinos as mentioned in their coalition agreement.

In addition the administration of North Rhine-Westphalia announced that it will not ratify the new law and that it stopped the implementation of the new responsibilities (the new law provides that North Rhine-Westphalia takes over the sports betting regulation from Hesse).

The consequence of this situation is that the new State Treaty will not enter into force on 1 January 2018 as planned. This is because the law provides that it will be invalid if it is not ratified by all 16 German states until 31 December 2017.

Until the German states find an agreement for a new law the current regulatory situation remains. Sports betting will be tolerated for EU-licensed operators as long as they comply with material regulatory requirements like advertising restrictions and AML obligations. This is now confirmed by several higher administrative courts like the ones of North Rhine-Westphalia, Saarland and Hesse.

Dr. Michael Stulz-Herrnstadt and Christoph Engelmann recently commented on the decision of the higher administrative court of Hesse in the German magazine “GRUR-Prax” 2017 p. 387; the article can be viewed here (in German, subscription based). Dr. Michael Stulz-Herrnstadt was also interviewed about the Schleswig-Holstein situation by the magazine “Online Gambling Lawyer“.

Permanent link to this article: http://blogs.dlapiper.com/mediaandsport/2017/09/update-german-sports-betting-regulation/

Changes to the law on Sport in Poland

by Rafał Burda and Wojciech Biegański

The new Polish Sports Law that came into force on 12 September 2017 introduces important changes with respect to the regulatory aspects of sport as well as some organisational and structural changes to sport in Poland that are aimed at conforming with modern standards of sports regulation. Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: http://blogs.dlapiper.com/mediaandsport/2017/09/changes-to-the-law-on-sport-in-poland/

UK – Gambling Commission – Revised Remote Gambling and Software Technical Standards

By Jonathan Salt

Following a consultation in October 2016, the Gambling Commission (Commission) has recently announced revised remote gambling and software technical standards (RTS) aimed at ensuring that online operators offer consumers a uniformed set of tools to monitor their gambling activities in the United Kingdom.

Prior to the consultation, the RTS has remained generally unchanged since it was first implemented in 2007. The Commission has concluded that it is now necessary to reflect the modern changes in technology in the gambling environment and the significant growth of online gambling in the United Kingdom with the revised RTS.

Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: http://blogs.dlapiper.com/mediaandsport/2017/08/uk-gambling-commission-revised-remote-gambling-and-software-technical-standards/

Update on the new AML Act in Germany

By Dr. Michael Stulz-Herrnstadt and Christoph Engelmann

The new German Anti Money Laundering (AML) Act entered into force on 26 June 2017 after it has been published in the Federal Law Gazette.

The new AML Act brings three important changes for gambling companies:

  • Extension of the scope from online to offline gambling and from licensed to unlicensed gambling
  • Revised AML measures in detail
  • Extended catalogue of administrative offenses with higher administrative fines (up to 1 million Euro)

For more information on the new AML Act we published a client alert for gambling companies that are offering their services in Germany. In addition we wrote an article in the German newspaper FAZ covering the main impacts on gambling companies.

Permanent link to this article: http://blogs.dlapiper.com/mediaandsport/2017/07/update-on-the-new-aml-act-in-germany/

Implementation of the AML Directive in Poland

By Magdalena Gmur

The first quarter of 2017 saw extensive amendments being made to the Polish Gambling Act. However, gambling operators should now focus their attention on proposed anti-money laundering (AML) regulations, which may also affect their business activity. The Polish government has just published the first draft of the new Act on Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism (Draft AML Act), which will implement into Polish law Directive EU 2015/849 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing. Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: http://blogs.dlapiper.com/mediaandsport/2017/06/implementation-of-the-aml-directive-in-poland/

New licenses for online casinos in Germany?

By Dr. Michael Stulz-Herrnstadt and Christoph Engelmann

After the elections in the German state Schleswig-Holstein the Christian Democrats, Free Democrats and Greens plan on a new gambling law in their coalition negotiations.

The Greens mention on their website that the coalition does not want to implement the new State Treaty on Gambling into their state law. Instead they plan on resigning from the State Treaty and on passing a new gambling law together with the states North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Hesse. The new gambling law is supposed to be based on the 2012 Schleswig-Holstein gambling law. Other than the State Treaty on Gambling it intends to offer (new) licenses not online for sports betting but also for online casinos including poker games.

State revenues will be used for prevention of gambling addiction, consumer protection, grassroots sport and common public interest. Brick-and-mortar casinos will be sold neutral in terms of effect on competition after the online licenses have been issued.

This is a very exciting development for operators that are looking into the German market. After the new State Treaty on Gambling has been criticized in recent court decisions it now looks like at least a few states might rethink their current gambling policies.

Permanent link to this article: http://blogs.dlapiper.com/mediaandsport/2017/06/new-licenses-for-online-casinos-in-germany/

E-Sport will finally be recognised as a sport in Poland

Rafał Burda and Wojciech Biegański

On 14 March 2017, the Council of Ministers adopted a draft law amending the Act of 25 June 2010 on Sport (accessible here). The draft is currently subject to its first reading in parliament. The draft introduces an extension to the existing definition of sport, supplementing the solely physical activity expressed thus far in the sports law with “competition based on intellectual activity aimed at achieving a sports result”. This extension is aimed at achieving two main goals: (i) to officially recognise sporting disciplines like checkers, chess or sports bridge as sports competitions; and (ii) to bring e-sport competitions under the jurisdiction of sports law, due to the fact that such intellectual activity is widely regarded as having similar social effects to physical activity. Given the fact that e-sport is expected to expand its global fan-base to around 345 million by 2019, this change in the law seems absolutely necessary. As of 1 April 2017, accepting bets on virtual events (including e-sport) is expressly allowed under the Polish Gambling Act.

Permanent link to this article: http://blogs.dlapiper.com/mediaandsport/2017/05/e-sport-will-finally-be-recognised-as-a-sport-in-poland/

New AML Act for Germany – impact on gambling operators

By Dr. Michael Stulz-Herrnstadt and Christoph Engelmann

The financial committee of the Federal Parliament agreed on amendments to the new German Anti Money Laundering (AML) Act (Geldwäschegesetz, GwG) yesterday. The new law will bring important changes for gambling operators.

While the scope of the new AML Act will be extended from online gambling to also offline gambling operators, there are some gambling products (e.g. social lotteries, slot machines) that might benefit from new exceptions because of their low money laundering risk. Other gambling operators (e.g. sports betting shops) might be faced with new challenges like restrictions in payment methods and new administrative offenses with administrative fines of up to 1 million Euro.

To implement the 4th AML directive the new law has to enter into force by 26 June 2017. Prior to this the Federal Parliament and the Federal Assembly are expected to agree to the proposed changes. We will keep you updated on the developments.

Update (19 May 2017): The Federal Parliament adopted the changes on 18 May 2017.

Permanent link to this article: http://blogs.dlapiper.com/mediaandsport/2017/05/new-aml-act-for-germany-impact-on-gambling-operators/

UK – Ofcom reintroduces (lower) fees for video-on-demand services

By Patrick Mitchell and Alastair Mackichan

The larger operators of UK VOD services (such as broadcasters’ catch up services, and other on-demand TV and movie services) will again be required to pay an annual fee to meet Ofcom’s regulatory costs.

Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: http://blogs.dlapiper.com/mediaandsport/2017/05/uk-ofcom-reintroduces-lower-fees-for-video-on-demand-services/

AVMSD Reform: Focus on Video-Sharing Platforms

As broadly known, the EU Commission on May 25, 2016 published its proposal for a reform of the audio-visual media services Directive no. 2010/13/EU (“Proposal“, available here).  The Proposal is currently under scrutiny: in particular, the European Parliament’s Committee on Culture and Education on April 25, 2017, voted to amend the Proposal.  The subject matter of this post is constituted by video-sharing platforms.

1. Video-Sharing Platforms: Current Regulatory Framework

The Italian AVMS Code – in accordance with the AVMS Directive – expressly states that video-sharing platforms do not fall within its scope of application (mainly because there would be no accountability / editorial responsibility in connection with the user-generated content).

As a consequence, the regulatory framework on video-sharing platform is mainly laid down by the Directive no. 2000/31/EC (so called “E-Commerce Directive”), according to which video-sharing platform providers should be regarded as “hosting providers” and so they benefit from the “no general obligation to monitor” principle set forth by Section 15 of the same Directive.

2. Video-Sharing Platforms under the Proposal

2.1 Introduction. The Aim of the Proposal According to the EU Commission

Mr. Andrus Ansip (Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for the Digital Single Market) in his speech accompanying the publication of the Proposal argued that “[The] aim is that online platforms, the creative sector and the audiovisual sector become the driving forces of the digital economy; I do not want them to be weighed by useless or overdue standards. They need the certainty of a modern and equitable legal framework […]. This does not mean that the provisions currently in force need necessarily to be amended, such as those relating to the responsibility of online service providers.  It means deregulating, as necessary, traditional sectors such as broadcasting, or extending certain obligations to platforms and other digital operators to improve user’s protection and ensure equal conditions“.

2.2 Definition of “Video-Sharing Platform Service

In the scenario drawn up sub paragraph 2.1., the Proposal sets forth a brand-new definition of “video-sharing platform service” which falls within the scope of the AVMS Directive, i.e. the service which meets the following requirements:

A. the service consists of the storage of a large amount of programmes or user-generated videos, for which the video-sharing platform provider does not have editorial responsibility;

B. the organisation of the stored content is determined by the provider of the service, including by automatic means or algorithms, in particular hosting, displaying, tagging and sequencing;

C. the principal purpose of the service is the provision of programmes and user-generated videos to the general public, in order to inform, entertain or educate;

D. the service is made available by electronic communication networks.

2.3 “Video-Sharing Platform Service“: Regulatory Framework

The EU Commission remarked that “[it] will maintain the existing intermediary liability regime while implementing a sectorial, problem-driven approach to regulation”.

That said, Section 28a of the Proposal obliges video-sharing platform providers to:

A. protect minors from content which may impair their physical, mental or moral development;

B. protect all citizens from content containing incitement to violence or hatred directed against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined by reference to sex, race, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin.

The features of such obligations depend on the type of content displayed and shall consist of (“as appropriate“):

a) defining and applying in the terms and conditions of the video-sharing platform the concepts of incitement to violence or hatred as referred to in letter B) above (and of content which may impair the physical, mental or moral development of minors);

b) establishing and operating mechanisms for users of video-sharing platforms to report or flag to the video-sharing platform provider concerned harmful content as per letters A. and B. above;

c) establishing and operating age verification systems;

d) establishing and operating systems allowing users of video-sharing platforms to rate the harmful content as per letters A. and B. above.  This is particularly worth noting, as rating systems currently in force are generally based on a self-assessment carried out by AVMS providers;

e) providing parental control systems (in connection with content which may cause prejudice to minors);

f) providing systems through which the users’ reporting as per letter b) above is actually enforced (or the reasons why it has not been enforced).

Such obligations are actually borne (directly) by Member States (and not by the providers) and shall be performed through a co-regulation procedure (i.e., codes of conduct).  This approach is aimed at ensuring a tailor-made regulation; however, it could determine regulatory asymmetries in this field, to be carefully assessed also in light of the rules on jurisdiction set out by the Proposal (which will be the subject matter of our next AVMS #AVMSD Reform Series post).  The latter conclusion has been also flagged by the European Audiovisual Observatory which, along with the European Platform of Regulatory Authorities (EPRA) on January 17, 2017 published the summary (available here) of a workshop entitled “Addressing Regulatory Asymmetries: Video-Sharing Platforms, Targeting On-Demand Services, and Services Outside the EU“.

We will keep you updated on the next steps of the ongoing legislative procedure.

Feel free to contact us if you want to discuss the above!

saverio.cavalcanti@dlapiper.com / @Zagherio

dario.malandrino@dlapiper.com / DarioMalandrin1


Permanent link to this article: http://blogs.dlapiper.com/mediaandsport/2017/05/avmsd-reform-focus-on-video-sharing-platforms/

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