Saarland media watchdog slams S-H licensees over advertising

24 September 2019

Uwe Conradt, the director of the Landesmedienanstalt Saarland (LMS), the German state’s supervisory authority for radio and television, accused Scheswig-Holstein licensed operators of flouting advertising restrictions, saying they had “massively endangered” efforts to tackle gambling addiction in the country.

Conradt said that many operators were flouting existing advertising restrictions by broadcasting via national channels, despite the fact their products are legal only in Schleswig-Holstein.

"Schleswig-Holstein has pledged to limit the advertising of gambling products after renewing its online casino licences," Conradt said. He said that operators were meant to ensure they only promoted their offerings via regional media, rather than through nationwide channels.

"Yet a few weeks after the renewal of [the state's] licenses, there is no evidence of these limits,” he said. "The LMS will not stand idly by when the goal of combatting gambling addiction is massively endangered by Schleswig-Holstein alone."

Conradt added that operators often advertised at times when minors were watching, and on private broadcasters that attracted a younger audience.

He pointed out that the LMS, which also serves as the gambling regulatory authority in Saarland, had coordinated action by gambling regulators and media watchdogs to bring a lawsuit against lottery betting operators in Germany. Conradt warned that a similar approach could be taken to stamp out illegal advertising.

The statement from Conradt comes a day before Germany’s first annual gambling addiction awareness day, which will be promoted by the slogan “Don’t play until you’re addicted” (“Spiel nicht bis zur Glücksspielsucht”).

Germany is in the process of introducing the third amended State Treaty on Gambling, though this faced criticism from the European Commission in August. The treaty is intended to act as a stopgap to last until 2021, when a new, more comprehensive regulatory framework is to be implemented.