German Commercial Broadcaster Loses Gambling Advertising Case

13 February 2007

In the provisional order procedure between the federal state Toto-Lotto Niedersachsen GmbH and commercial TV broadcaster RTL, the German higher regional court in Celle on Feb. 2 ordered RTL to stop carrying advertising for illegal sports betting activities in the 11 German states.

After the regional court of Hanover rejected the decree of the provisional order, the judges of the higher regional court in Celle ruled that RTL's sports betting activity constitutes a criminal offense, according to Section 284, 4 of the penal code.

Further, RTL could not appeal on the grounds that its actions were an "excusable prohibition mistake" because in the opinion of the Celle court--according to the upper-judicial jurisdiction and the resolution order of the regional court in Hamburg--RTL should have been clear that its actions were inadmissible.

The management of Toto-Lotto Niedersachsen was satisfied with the verdict. Public broadcasting companies had already been forced to stop carrying advertising for private sport betting businesses, and now commercial television companies must stop their advertisements for Austrian betting operation bwin.

The decision enables the management of Toto-Lotto Niedersachsen, as well as the 11 states of the Federal Republic, to fight illegal sports betting operators even more actively than before.

Toto-Lotto Niedersachsen offers: Lotto 6 out off 49, Spiel 77, Super 6, Toto, Oddset, Bingo, Rubbelloslotterie, Gl├╝cksSpirale, Keno, Plus 5, Quicky and Nordwestdeutsche Klassenlotterie (NKL). Its sales and revenue figures have decreased significantly in recent years.

The RTL Group is the leading European entertainment network; it is No. 1 TV and radio broadcasting company in Europe, with 38 TV channels and 29 radio stations in 10 countries. It is also the global leader in content (production and rights), with more than 300 programs in over 40 countries, over 8,500 hours of programming per year and an audience of 250 million worldwide monthly viewers. The largest independent distribution company outside the United States, RTL Group owns broadcasting rights for 19,000 programming hours in 150 countries.

Rob van der Gaast has a background in sports journalism. He worked for over seven years as the head of sports for Dutch National Radio and has developed new concepts for the TV and the gambling industry. Now he operates from Istanbul as an independent gambling research analyst. He specializes in European gambling matters and in privatizations of gambling operators. Rob has contributed to IGN since Jul 09, 2001.