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The German regulator (GGL) has opposed the proposed decriminalisation of unregulated gambling and instead called for expanded legislation to allow for the prosecution of overseas operators.

Last year, Germany’s justice minister Marco Buschmann announced plans to remove section 284 from the country’s criminal code, which currently prohibits unauthorised gambling activities. 

This initiative is part of a broader overhaul of Germany’s criminal law, aimed at eliminating outdated provisions.

Germany’s drug and addiction commissioner Burkhard Blienert was among the first to voice opposition to the planned relaxation of the law.

According to the GGL, the proposed reform would significantly undermine efforts to combat black market operators targeting the country.

The current legislation allows the authority to file criminal charges with the public prosecutor’s office against organisations suspected of offering illegal gambling activities.

Criminal prosecution abroad

“We urge the federal ministry of justice to reconsider the planned reform and instead advocate for expanding the paragraph to encompass illegal gambling providers operating abroad,” said GGL CEO Ronald Benter (pictured).

“The possibility of criminal prosecution abroad would serve as a deterrent to such providers,” he added.

Benter also emphasised the need for clarity around the application of German law to gambling providers based overseas.

In a letter to justice minister Buschmann, the GGL called for this addition to be incorporated into the updated criminal law.

Benter also warned about the potential consequences of removing section 284, particularly in combating money laundering.

Such a move could create a “regulatory gap” and effectively decriminalise a significant portion of money laundering activities, he argued.

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