A video advertisement produced to promote an online poker site in Germany has been banned by German broadcasters for being too violent. The video advertises the global internet gambling site PokerStars, but after viewers reacted to its “violent and upsetting content” authorities ordered that it be taken off the air and not be broadcast again.
The banned video depicts graphic violence, and is not for the faint of heart. It shows players in a poker game killing one another in a variety of ways. Players are burned alive, gassed, shot, and stabbed. In the end, a helicopter flies in and shoots up the entire scene, killing everyone. An ongoing voiceover (in English) talks of “loving your enemies”. The video ends with words coming up on the screen urging viewers to play online poker in Germany because it is “safer”. The advertisement is professionally made, and obviously came with a high production cost.
Online gambling advertisements in Germany have been an issue recently. In September, the European Court of Justice ruled against German gambling laws, calling the country’s sports betting monopoly unlawful. German authorities maintained the position that the monopoly exists to prevent gambling addiction. The court, however, pointed out that the German monopoly advertised their products very extensively in order to attract new customers, a practice which goes against the claim that the monopoly exists in order to fight addiction.
Germany’s gambling monopoly faces increasing opposition, both internally from German states, and externally from the EJC and from foreign online gambling groups wishing to target the lucrative German market. New laws are being drafted to help better define the situation surrounding sports betting in Germany, but the future of the industry remains uncertain.