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GGL calls ISPs to block illegal betting sites

The new regulator in Germany, the Glücksspielbehörde (GGL) has announced plans to request internet service providers (ISPs) to block any websites voluntarily that it finds to be operating illegally in Germany.

The GGL took over the enforcement of unlicensed gambling just this month, on July 1, and it is set to take over all regulations in the country on Jan 1st, 2023.

The regulator has told all currently active ISPs in Germany that although they will not be obliged to block websites after the GGL makes a request, doing as such will help to stop illegal sites operating in the country and help to protect customers.

The first blocking order from the GGL was issued last week against operator Lottoland, which has reportedly been offering illegal gambling for several years.

“If the ISP fails to comply with the formal request to block an illegal gambling offer from the network, GGL can impose a penalty payment, also based on the economic capacity of the addressee, and can amount to up to €500,000 (£425,201/$508,349).”

The blocking of illegal gambling websites is now possible thanks to Germany’s State Treaty on Gambling (GlüNeuRStv) which has been in effect since last July.

“The GGL’s social mission is to combat illegal gambling to protect gamblers and minors from gambling and betting addiction and game manipulation,” the GGL said. “Against this background, according to our examination, these interventions are justified and therefore permissible. They meet the proportionality requirements. 

“We have also taken into account the relevant European regulations, in particular freedom of service and freedom of establishment and the requirements for network neutrality. Here, too, we conclude that these are not violated by blocking the illegal offers.”