German state issues first federal international payment blocking order

Lower Saxony’s (Niedersachsen) minister for home affairs and sports, Boris Pistorius, has begun a crackdown on illegal igaming activities across the German state following the issuing of a blocking order against an unnamed international payment service provider.

The supplier in question has been handed a blanket ban from conducting any form of business with operators offering online casino, poker and lottery betting in Germany, with all these products banned under the state treaty on gambling.

Pistorius explained: “We are signalling our intent and expect this more to put pressure on other payment service providers to reorganise their business processes in connection with illegal gambling, if they have not done so already.”

Additionally, the ministry disclosed that the unnamed firm could face the possibility of further sanctions for failing to comply with the prohibition on working with unlicensed gaming businesses.

The Ministry said it is looking to stamp out illegal activity which in 2017 accounted for around 22% of the country’s €14.2bn gambling market.

Pistorius continued: “Online casinos are no triviality. They are prohibited by the Gambling Treaty and also punishable.

“In the meantime, however, it is moving towards a billion-euro market. As a rule, operators are companies based abroad, which are beyond the reach of the German authorities.”

The state’s treaty of gambling forbids all service providers from working with offshore igaming operators although it was originally left to these companies to respect these regulations.

In light of this the Niedersachsen Ministry of the Interior was handed responsibility for implementing payment blocking controls in an effort to ensure compliance – its blocking orders are effective across all German states.

Furthermore the ministry revealed it has sent warnings to a “number of other payment service providers” over links to illegal gambling, in which some of the companies have responded by ceasing to power transactions for offshore sites.

“The successful interactions with some payment service providers shows that our approach is quite effective,” Pistorius concluded.