Germany’s Gaming Regulator to Get New Leader as of July 1

Posted on: June 30, 2023, 07:10h. 

Last updated on: June 30, 2023, 09:00h.

Germany’s Fourth State Treaty on Gambling, which helped unify the country’s diverse gambling laws, included a unique provision. It stated that the chair of the new gaming regulator could only serve for one year, and that year is up for Jörg Sibbel as of Friday.

Jörg Sibbel, the chairman of Germany's GGL, in a public appearance
Jörg Sibbel, the chairman of Germany’s GGL, in a public appearance. He will vacate the position on Friday and transfer power to Udo Götze. (Image: Wikidata)

At the end of the day today, the leadership of the Joint Gaming Authority (GGL, for its German acronym) will witness a changing of the guard, as the current chairman of the board hands over the reins. Composed of delegates from the athletic administration departments of 16 federal states, the board of directors serves as the governing body responsible for overseeing and organizing the operations of the GGL.

Each year on July 1, there’s a transitional shift in the leadership of the GGL, where the chair rotates in a predetermined order based on the alphabetical arrangement of the states. Schleswig-Holstein is now ceding power to Thuringia, which could present a problem.

Monopoly State Takes Over

Sibbel was the GGL’s first chair following the creation of the unified regulator. He only took over at the beginning of 2023, but had spent the last six months of 2022 defining its operating parameters.

As of Saturday, Sibbel will pass on his duties to Udo Götze, the state secretary hailing from the Thuringian Ministry of Interior and Municipal Affairs. Reflecting on his tenure as chairman, Sibbel reminisced about an eventful era characterized by profound changes.

He highlighted the surge in popularity Germany’s gambling scene is enjoying, thanks to the noteworthy efforts of the GGL. In particular, he pointed out that the GGL’s dedication to combating illegal activities and its crusade against illegal online gambling is profoundly evident.

Götze expects to continue where Sibbel left off without a break in stride. He said in a (translated) statement about the transition, “All 16 countries support the GGL with conviction. Regulating the national gambling market in Germany is a challenging task. The GGL also has the support of the states under the leadership of the state of Thuringia.”

When the German states approved the latest gambling treaty, it included a caveat that allowed the individual states to determine how to establish their markets. Many opted for an open market that embraced different operators, but not Thuringia.

Instead, the state decided it wanted a gaming monopoly, arguing that this was the best way to offer consumer protections and generate the most revenue. However, as Finland recently confirmed, that’s not necessarily true.

GGL Continues to Refine German Gambling

The Fourth Interstate Treaty made clear the parameters of legal gambling in Germany. It stated that the act of gambling is permissible solely when conducted within the confines of governmental oversight and regulation.

The responsibility for this oversight, particularly of online gaming, was then given to the GGL. The regulator’s headquarters is in Halle in the state of Saxony-Anhalt, although the chair isn’t required to relocate.  

The primary objective of the GGL is to govern the German gambling industry through the evaluation and acceptance of global gambling propositions. Its crucial responsibility involves overseeing licensed providers to ensure adherence to legislation designed to safeguard players against gambling addiction and fraudulent activities.

The core objective of the official program is to secure the well-being of children and players while simultaneously combating the detrimental effects of gambling and gambling addiction. Through GGL’s implementation and stringent enforcement of union regulations, game providers will be granted the opportunity to operate under equal and fair conditions.

GGL assumes the responsibility of providing guidance to politicians and organizations regarding unfavorable trends. It positions itself as a platform that caters to all stakeholders, including players, politicians, sports providers, individuals struggling with addiction, and those opposed to gambling.