Category Archive: Advertising

Renewal of online casino licences in Schleswig-Holstein

The governing coalition of Schleswig-Holstein has signed a draft law that is intended to renew the online casino licences that have recently expired.

This draft law is one step further than the draft of an amendment to the German State Treaty on Gambling that will only allow new sports betting licences but sticks to the ban on online casinos.

The new law of Schleswig-Holstein is expected to be passed in May and the new online casino licences are to be valid until 30 June 2021. For the period after June 2021, it is intended to develop a new regulatory framework which, according to the wishes of Schleswig-Holstein, will also allow issuing online casino licences in the other German states.

New sports betting licences in Germany

By Dr. Michael Stulz-Herrnstadt and Christoph Engelmann

The draft of an amendment to the German State Treaty on Gambling has been published. The amendment is intended to allow issuing new (online and offline) sports betting licences. This includes:

  • Extending the so-called experimental phase for sports betting from 30 June 2019 to 30 June 2021 with the possibility to extend up to 30 June 2024.
  • Removing the quota system for sports betting licences to allow issuing more than just 20 licences.
  • Entry into force on 1 January 2020 if all participating German states ratify the treaty until 31 December 2019.

With these amendments the German states want to provide clarity for sports betting operators and involved third parties, including payment service providers, the media and sports clubs. The gambling authority of Hesse is expected to start the licensing procedure as soon as possible in order to ensure issuing the licenses in January 2020. At the same time with issuing new licences, the gambling authorities will be instructed to prohibit unlicensed sports betting nationwide. This includes revoking a licence if the operator offers any unlicensed gambling next to the licensed sports betting.

The prime ministers of the 16 German states will discuss the draft on their conference on 21 March 2019 and are expected to sign the new State Treaty afterwards. The State Treaty will then have to be ratified by all participating states until the end of the year.

The draft is a welcome development for sports betting operators that want to be licensed in Germany. Unfortunately, the draft does not mention online casinos. But the prime ministers are discussing an option for Schleswig-Holstein to extend previous online casino licences until 30 June 2021 for their territory. A further amendment of the State Treaty is envisaged for the period after 30 June 2021.

SWEDEN: The Swedish administrative court of appeal (Sw. Kammarrätten) upholds decision to impose fines against Swedish evening papers for providing links to offshore gambling services.

In September 2013, the Swedish Gambling Authority (Sw. Lotteriinspektionen) issued an injunction under a penalty of a fine of SEK 45 000 per day against the evening papers Expressen och Aftonbladet for publishing links to offshore operated gambling services.

The papers appealed the decision arguing that the Swedish Gambling Authority’s decision was in violation of Swedish Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression (Sw. yttrandefrihetsgrundlagen) and that the prohibition against promotion of offshore gambling services was incompatible with EU law.

The Swedish administrative court of appeal concluded that gambling advertisements are of commercial nature and, as such, not protected by the Swedish Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression. Furthermore, the court did not assess that the prohibition against promotion of offshore gambling services is incompatible with EU law. As such, the Swedish administrative court rejected the appeal and upheld the Swedish Gambling Authority’s decision to issue the injunction.

While the new Swedish gambling act enters into force on 1 January 2019 and the new license applications are currently being processed by the Swedish Gambling Authority, we expect the papers to appeal the decision to the Swedish Supreme Administrative Court.

If you have any questions regarding the decision or the new Swedish gambling legislation, please contact Christopher Büller ( or Jessica Lorne ( at DLA Piper Sweden.

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“.

Global: Prize Promotions around the world

DLA Piper is pleased to announce the launch of Prize Promotions Around the World, an updated version of our previous prize promotions handbook.

Prize Promotions Around the World is an online tool designed to assist our clients across the globe with the management of the early development stages of a prize promotion (such as a sweepstake or skill-based contest), and to bring to their attention potentially problematic issues.

Key features include:

  • Additional jurisdictions, now with over 35 countries
  • Expansion of topics, including rules on judging and sanctions
  • Interactive map, highlighting the range of risk profiles in different jurisdictions

Access Prize Promotions Around the World here

Amendment to Polish Gambling Act adopted

Last Thursday (Sejm) and Friday (Senat), an amendment to the Polish Gambling Act was adopted. Once signed by the Polish president and published, it will come into force on 1 April 2017. Its official aim is to increase the protection of players against risks related to excessive gambling and to decrease the unlicensed market. However, it extends the number of games permitted in Poland and includes a couple of revolutionary changes: Read the rest of this entry »

UK: Placing digital adverts responsibly – new licence condition

Following the conclusion of the industry consulation, the Gambling Commisson has confirmed the new licence condition wording on placing digital adverts responsibly, as follows;

Licensees must:

a) ensure that they do not place digital advertisements on websites providing unauthorised access to copyrighted content.

b) take all reasonable steps to ensure that third parties with whom they contract for the provision of any aspect of their business related to the licensed activities do not place digital advertisements on websites providing unauthorised access to copyrighted content.

c) ensure that the terms upon which they contract with such third parties enable them, subject to compliance with any dispute resolution provisions, to terminate the third party’s contract promptly if, in the Licensee’s reasonable opinion, the third party has been responsible for placing digital advertisements for the licensed activities on such websites.

The Commission’s response to the consultation can be read in full here.

Poland: Proposal of new betting and poker regulations

According to the statement of the Polish Minister of Finance, Paweł Szałamacha (the Gambling Regulator), proposals for the new Polish Gambling Act were to be presented by the end of April 2016. To date this has not been done. However, on Sunday 15 May, a press conference was organized by Minister Jarosław Gowin (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Science and Higher Education, representing the right wing party Polska Razem) and Zbigniew Boniek (President of Polish Football Association).

During the press conference, Minister Gowin outlined his proposals for the new law regulating betting and card games like poker. Under the new law, betting and card games like poker should be ‘excluded’ from the Gambling Law.

With respect to betting, the gaming tax should be based on 20% GGR instead of the current 12% turnover tax. According to the authors of the proposal, this should generate income of PLN 200 million (i.e. EUR 50 million) for the state budget. Further, since there should be some liberalization with respect to advertising and sponsoring, sports team in Poland should earn an additional PLN 100 million (i.e. EUR 25 million). 10% of the revenue from gaming tax should be allocated to socially important initiatives. Namely, 7% should be given to the Polish Olympic Committee and used to support youth sport, while the remaining 3% should be used to combat gambling addiction.

According to the authors of the proposal, it should result in the situation where 70% of the Polish betting market is regulated, because the new law should permit the blocking of both IP and payments of operators that do not have a valid Polish licence.

With respect to poker, which is currently permitted only in licenced land-based casinos, the new law should permit online poker and the organizing of tournaments by licenced operators. It should also de-criminalise poker games played in private houses as a social card game (which is currently prohibited and subject to fines and even imprisonment).

The proposals for the new law were not prepared by the main party in the Polish government – PIS (Law and Justice); however, Minister Gowin hopes that they will gain its support and be adopted by the Polish parliament.

New Polish Gambling Act – further speculation

Following a press conference on 2 April during which the Polish Minister of Finance announced that a draft of the new Polish Gambling Act should be ready by the end of the month, the media has been discussing how it may regulate gambling in Poland. There is a suggestion that the new regulations will be based on the Danish model and that it will include a gaming tax of (depending on the source) between 10% and 20% of GGR.

It is suspected that the new regulations will extend the list of permitted online gambling activities from online betting to include online poker (including live poker) and online casinos. It is expected that there will be a moderate fee for obtaining a gambling licence and that advertising and sponsoring rules will be liberalized. As well as providing an additional source for the Polish government to finance its family support program “500+” (PLN 500 monthly for each second and next child in a given family), the new law should also encourage gambling operators to spend more on sponsoring sport in Poland.

On the other hand, it is also speculated that the new law may introduce more effective measures to prevent Polish residents from using websites of unlicenced operators, such as IP blocking or payment blocking. Totalizator Sportowy (a state-owned company) would like to have a back-tax introduced for offshore operators as is the case in Romania.

Germany: Unconstitutionality of sections of the State Treaty on Games of Chance

By Dr. Michael Stulz-Herrnstadt and Christoph Engelmann

The Bavarian Constitutional Court (BayVerfGH) had to decide whether the German State Treaty on Games of Chance is constitutional. It decided that two sections of the State Treaty are unconstitutional. The first section is § 4a III 2 which enables the German prime minister conference to decide over the quantity of licenses for sport betting companies. The second section is § 5 IV which enables the so called “Gluecksspielkollegium” to enact guide lines for advertising. The BayVerfGH held that both sections are unconstitutional because of violations of the rule-of-law principle.

Dr. Michael Stulz-Herrnstadt (partner) and Christoph Engelmann (associate) commented on the BayVerfGH’s decision in the German magazine “GRUR-Prax” 2015 p. 491. The article can be viewed here (in German, subscription based).

Germany: Advertising for sports betting on TV

By Dr. Michael Stulz-Herrnstadt and Christoph Engelmann

The High Administrative Court of Bavaria (BayVGH) had to decide whether the TV broadcasting of advertising for sports betting can be prohibited if the sports betting company has been selected for a sports betting license that has not been issued yet. The state media authorities decided to only proceed against tv advertising for sports betting if the relevant gambling authority decides to proceed against the sports betting company.

The BayVGH ruled that the state media authority acts contradictorily if it proceeds against the broadcaster without the corresponding decision of the gambling authority. It ruled in accordance with the court of lower instance (VG München) that the sustained licensing process cannot be held against the sports betting companies
especially as the (single) state licensed sports betting company is allowed to stay in business while private companies are waiting for the new licenses.

Dr. Michael Stulz-Herrnstadt (partner) and Christoph Engelmann (associate) commented on the BayVGH’s decision in the German magazine “Zeitschrift fuer Wett- und Gluecksspielrecht” (ZfWG) 2015 pp. 250-252. The article can be downloaded here (in German).

A look at the IGRG’s second edition of the Gambling Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising

By Claire Sng and Xi Chen

With the 2015 Rugby World Cup on the horizon and sport at the forefront of our minds, it is interesting to consider the 2nd Edition of the Gambling Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising (“Revised Code”), dealing with, amongst other things, the rules relating to the watershed for gambling television advertising and the exception for advertising of sports betting around televised sporting events. Read the rest of this entry »

The Netherlands: complaint against misleading advertising licensed lottery

By Richard van Schaik and Róbin de Wit


The Dutch Consumers’ Association has filed a complaint with the Games of Chance Authority (Kansspelautoriteit, “KSA”) regarding misleading advertising by a licensed charity lottery. Consumers were misled by a “free” tickets campaign, organized by the lottery. Read the rest of this entry »

Italy: Gaming advertising ban, ready for the battle?

A potential gaming advertising ban is contained in the last draft of Italian gambling law, but there is no doubt that it will trigger legal challenges if approved. Read the rest of this entry »

GB: ASA reminds operators of need to publish compliant ads

In a recent adjudication, the Advertising Standards Authority (“ASA”) has issued a timely reminder of the need to place sufficient prominence to significant terms of a promotion in marketing messages.  The adjudication comes in the midst of operators being asked by the Gambling Commission to demonstrate compliance with their marketing obligations under the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (“LCCP”).

The ASA concluded that the advert in question, which appeared on a full page of the operator’s website, had not stated significant limitations and qualifications of the ‘free bet’ offer.  The LCCP require operators to ensure that significant conditions are made clear in the adverts themselves or, if the advert is significantly limited in space (e.g. banner ads), that significant terms are prominently displayed no further than “one-click” away.

Importantly, the ASA determined that, as the advert appeared as a full page on the operator’s own website, the advert was not significantly limited by space, and determined that the material terms of the offer should have been stated in the advert itself, rather than being one-click away.  The advert was therefore misleading and breached the CAP Code.

It comes as a reminder to operators of their compliance obligations in the marketing of promotions, an area which has maintained a high level of public interest and regulatory scrutiny.

You can read the ASA’s adjudication here.

UK: Tweaks to Rules on Sales Promotions and Competitions

By Jack Randles and John Wilks

The UK’s Committee of Advertising Practice (“CAP”) has introduced changes to the provisions of its advertising code which deal with the running of sales promotions, including prize promotions. The full regulatory statement explaining and setting out the changes is here. The amendments to Chapter 8 of the CAP Code came into force on 1 May 2015. The main aim of the changes was to increase consistency with European legislation. Read the rest of this entry »

GB: Advertising of ‘free’ bet promotions

Much has been made of the recent review of gambling advertising, with the marketing of free bets and bonus offers continuing to be a focus, prompted by an increase in the number of complaints about these types of offer.  Claire Sng, of DLA Piper, assesses the challenges faced by operators following the commitment made to police free bet offers more closely.

Read article How ‘Free’ is your ‘Free Bet’ Promotion? which appears in the March/April edition of iGaming Business.

Draft Spanish Royal Decree on gambling advertising activities

Today it has been published by the Spanish Gambling Authorities (Dirección General de Ordenación el Juego– “DGOJ”) the draft version of the Royal Decree on gambling advertising activities.

This draft Spanish Royal Decree will be subject to public comments until next 17 April 2015, therefore operators or interested parties within the industry are entitled to provide the DGOJ with their comments until 17 April 2015. You will be able to find the Spanish version of this Draft Spanish Royal Decree here.

Spain: The Senate promotes the regulations of online gaming advertising

By: Paula González de Castejón

The long awaited Spanish Regulation on Responsible Advertising and  Online Gambling is currently undergoing a legislative process. All the political groups present in the Spanish Senate have recently brought a joint motion in order to request the Spanish Government to immediately start processing said Regulation. Read the rest of this entry »

UK: CAP publishes latest advice on gambling advertising

The Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP), which write and maintain the UK’s Advertising Codes, has published its latest advice on marketers wishing to place adverts for gambling products.  Read their latest advice here.

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