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The Higher Administrative Court of the State of Saxony-Anhalt in Germany has upheld the power of the German gambling regulator to ban licensed operators from advertising on affiliate sites that also promote unlicensed firms.

This decision confirms the GGL’s strict stance on affiliate marketing.

Earlier this year, the GGL issued its first ever fine to an undisclosed licensed operator for advertising breaches.

According to the regulator, the operator deliberately advertised its offer on affiliate websites that also promoted unregulated gambling offers.

The GGL said this practice contradicted the advertising provisions outlined in Germany’s State Treaty on Gambling, which aims to ensure player protection by strictly separating legal and illegal offers to drive players towards the regulated market.

Avoiding any association

The Higher Administrative Court determined that affiliates who link to unregulated operators are advertising unregulated websites.

This was incompatible with the goals of the State Treaty on Gambling, the court ruled, adding that the ban was necessary to avoid creating an impression of equality between authorised and unauthorised gambling.

Operators on the whitelist must therefore ensure that their affiliates do not advertise unlicensed sites by avoiding any association with them on their websites.

In addition, the court confirmed other aspects of the law, including the obligation to refer to the “White List,” which directs potential players to legal gambling, and the need to inform players about the risks of addiction, the prohibition of participation by minors, and the availability of independent counselling and therapy options.

The decision is final and cannot be appealed.

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