German online slots tax receipts dropped about 43 percent in the first quarter of this year, suggesting that German gamblers might be moving to unlicensed operators.
Tax revenue from slots fell to €80.1m in Q1 2023, compared with about €140m in the first quarter of 2022, according to finance ministry data.
In contrast, overall gambling tax fell only about 5 percent in the period, to €666m.
Sports-betting tax receipts fell about 3 percent to €111m.
German online gambling industry officials have complained that restrictive slots rules, including €1 maximum stakes, coupled with a drawn-out process of approving games individually, is handicapping the slots business versus black-market competitors.
Industry executives have also baulked at talk of restricting gambling advertising, but the prospect of curbs seems to appeal to many Germans.
About 70 percent of those surveyed would like to see further TV and internet advertising restrictions on sports betting, according to a survey for Germany’s addiction and narcotic drugs commissioner.
About 60 percent would support a general ban on alcohol advertising and two-thirds of those surveyed would ban sponsorships of sports betting and alcohol at football matches, according to the survey.
About 57 percent would support a ban on TV advertising of lotteries and gambling, which could be viewed as a verdict on the lotteries run by every German state.
The survey of almost 1,400 residents above the age of 16 was carried out last November and December.
Police Tipped Off
On April 20, police in North Rhine-Westphalia coordinated a raid of more than 100 apartments, betting shops and businesses focused on Cologne, but also in Bremen, Berlin, Saxony, Bavaria, Malta and Croatia, on suspicion of a sports-betting operator “forming a criminal organisation” and withholding wages.
Six male suspects were arrested in Cologne and Bruehl, the police said.
Police did not name the target, but the Joint Gambling Authority for the Federal States (GGL) said the target was believed to be Tipster, which as of April 18 is whitelisted for a sports-betting licence.
“If the results of the investigations confirm the initial suspicion, GGL will initiate regulatory measures against the provider,” the GGL said.
Tipster said it “fully supports” investigations by the public prosecutor, as “consistent implementation of the gambling regulations” is part of its core business
“If misconduct has occurred in this context, the company will take the necessary action quickly in close coordination with the responsible authorities,” the company said.
The company’s website said it has been temporarily suspended “due to an unfolding situation”.