In Halle, the Joint Gaming Authority is gradually taking on more tasks. This now also includes combating illegal gaming on the Internet. There should even be Internet blocks against a gambling provider.

The new joint gambling authority of the federal states expects a three-digit number of proceedings against providers of illegal gambling on the Internet every year. The authorities in Halle announced that the first letters to larger illegal providers had already been sent. Large and well-known providers who advertise heavily would have priority.

The Joint Gaming Authority of the States (GGL), based in Halle (Saxony-Anhalt), took over responsibility for combating illegal gambling on the Internet on July 1st. According to the information, it can impose fines of up to 500,000 euros. Payment freezes to providers and Internet blocks are also possible.

Second lottery provider Lottoland in sight

Such an IP blocking procedure is currently already running. “Letters of formal notice have been sent to the first providers that the Internet pages of the largest second lottery provider, Lottoland, must be set and blocked,” said GGL board member Schwanke. The company Lottoland and its subsidiary Lottohelden have been offering illegal gambling in Germany for years. Many consumers believed that they were participating in the lottery. But that is not the case.

“If you play at Lottoland and Lottohelden, then you bet on the outcome of the lottery by the German state lottery provider, which is licensed,” Schwanke continued. The odds are opaque and players cannot be sure of winning. Despite bans on advertising and payment blocks, the pages can still be accessed.

Actions against prohibition orders

The Lottoland Group («Lottoland», «Lottohelden») considers the GGL plans to ask Internet providers to block Lottoland offers to be illegal. “Blocking orders are generally prohibited for providers in the protected area of ​​freedom to provide services in Europe,” the company said in a statement. The group has been trying to get German permits since 2017. To date, the applications have not been approved or rejected, so the procedures have remained unchanged. According to the announcement, the Maltese Lottoland companies are suing the administrative courts in Darmstadt and Hanover against prohibition orders. Judgments are still pending. Lottoland holds various licenses in European countries, including Malta, Great Britain, Ireland and Sweden.

White List of Approved Vendors

In order to distinguish illegal from legal gambling, a so-called white list is kept of providers approved in Germany, for example virtual slot machines, online poker, sports betting and online casino games. Anyone who doesn’t like it is considered illegal. The organizers and brokers of the game of chance as well as the advertisers would be informed in the first step that it is an illegal game of chance that must be stopped, said GGL board member Benjamin Schwanke. If this is not successful, a fine can be imposed.

“From past experience, because many gambling providers are based abroad, it is difficult to reach them,” Schwanke continued. Actually getting the fine is complicated. Therefore, in cooperation with service providers such as credit card companies and banks, payment blocking is used. The state of Lower Saxony was responsible for the procedure until the middle of the year and was already able to achieve considerable success.

The gambling authority announced that it would also consistently file criminal charges for illegal gambling and advertising for it. “In Saxony-Anhalt we are also promoting the establishment of a public prosecutor’s office specializing in Internet gambling here in Halle an der Saale, because we assume that we will file a large number of criminal charges,” said Board Member Ronald Benter.