Casino promotions drive rise in German gambling advertising

23 August 2019

A new report claims gambling advertising volume has increased threefold over the past five years, with much of this down to operators heavily promoting online casino sites.

The study by market research consultancy Research Tools, based on digital records from independent media observer AdVision, found that gambling operators spent €401m on advertising in Germany for the year ended 31 May, 2019.

This was driven predominantly by online casino advertising, for which spend has increased by more than €70m year-on-year. Sports betting, meanwhile, is growing from a lower base, and accounted for around 20% of total advertising volume over the year, Research Tools said.

This means private operators' advertising spend is much higher than those of state lottery companies. These entities, and their televised lottery draws, accoutned for around 10% of all advertising spend, while class lotteries - where draws are divided into a number of game phases - accounted for less thatn 5% of total volume. 

Over the year, an average of 64 brands promoted gambling each month, up from 47 for the previous year, with 12 operators' ad spend above €10m. However, Research Tools added, five brands accounted for around half of all spending. The survey picked out Kindred Group's Unibet and Malta-based casino operator Wunderino as two that had significantly increased ad spend during the year, while the newly-launched BildungsChancen Lotterie, which looks to raise funding for education, was also highlighted as having advertised heavily.

Television was by far the most popular medium through which operators advertised, accounting for 80% of total spend, with advertising focusing on "“fun and excitement, the chances of winning and the attractiveness of the winnings". The use of famous sportspeople to promote sportsbook offerings was also noted, with the likes of former German national team goalkeeper Oliver Kahn and Argentinean legend Diego Maradona among those featured.

The study looked at advertisements in 65 daily newspapers, 500 consumer magazines, 190 specialist journals, 71 radio and 45 television channels, as well as 500 internet website pages.

In March, Germany’s 16 federal states ratified the Third State Treaty on Gambling, which would allow operators to apply for sports betting licences in the market, while the state of Schleswig-Holstein will be allowed to run its own, liberal regulatory regime. The treaty will come into effect on 1 January, 2020 and last until 30 June, 2021.

The terms of the Treaty, which bans online casino and in-play betting, as well as imposing a 5% turnover tax and €1,000 monthly spending limit for players, look set to be strictly enforced. The body reponsible for issuing sportsbook licences, the Regional Council of Darmstadt in the state of Hesse, has already warned applicants that they must shut down any casino offering upon receipt of a licence.  Payment blocking measures have been implemented by Niedersachsen, while PayPal has amended its terms and conditions to ensure it is not used to process payments to unlicensed casino sites.