German public backs gambling reform, survey claims

9 July 2019

A new survey commissioned by Novomatic Group subsidiary Löwen Entertainment claims that more that 70% of the German public supports the roll-out of a uniform regulatory framework for all forms of gambling.

The study, conducted by market research consultancy smartcon, found that 71% of respondents were of the opinion that differing regulations for different verticals and channels should be replaced by a single, federal system.

Smartcon noted that while the vast majority of the population supports the core objectives of the State Treaty on Gambling, many believed that there were issues in how it was being implemented.

In particular it noted that restrictions placed on legal operators under the Treaty could ultimately see regulated offerings and operators lose business to unlicensed competitors. In total, 61% of those surveyed were of the opinion that if regulations made legal offers less attractive, the Treaty would fail to achieve its consumer protection goals.

Löwen Entertainment, which manufactures gaming machines and operates gaming halls across the country, noted that regulations differed on a state by state basis. As a result, it said, consumers were shifting to unregulated products such as lottery betting and online casino.

It estimated that more than 20% of gross gaming revenue in the German market was generated via unregulated operators.

“Even today, the unregulated market is growing relatively and in absolute terms more strongly than the regulated gaming market,” it said.

In particular advertising restrictions on legal operators were highlighted as a key issue. Illegal providers are able to advertise on TV, while licensed operators are subject to “strict, prohibitive advertising policies”. The survey found that a majority of the public was in favour of allowing legal operators to advertise their products.

With the Amended State Treaty on Gambling entering into force from July 1, in place until June 30, 2021, politicians have a two-year window in which to develop a new, all-encompassing regulatory model for all products and channels.

“The results of the gambling survey clearly show that we need attractive legal offers in all forms of gambling, otherwise the flow into the black market will never dry up," Dr. Daniel Henzgen, Löwen Entertainment executive committee member and representative for policy and external relations, said.

Smartcon conducted 1,000 interviews as part of the survey, with participants selected to provide a representative sample of the German population.