Germany has agreed to legalize online poker and casino on a state level, after all head of states, in a recent meeting in Berlin, approved the formally agreed gambling regulations. In addition, the 16 states decided on the location of the new regulatory body for the country.
Online casino and poker will become legal as the Glücksspielneuregulierungstaatsvertrag /GlüNeuRStv/ will expand on online betting to include the aforementioned two, starting from July 1, 2021, pending on each state’s ratification of the law, as well as the approval from the European Commission.
Until then, online operators can offer only sports betting, after obtaining a license from the Darmstadt Regional Council of the state of Hesse, the latter announced in February that so far 30 online operators have submitted applications, with 20 other companies expressing their interest in obtaining a license to provide sports books.
The new law determined the location for the new federal regulator of the market to be in Sachsen-Anhalt, though, to the surprise of all, as there were much stronger candidates in the mix including Nordrhein-Westfalen, Schleswig-Holstein, Baden-Württemberg and the current administrator of the licensing process for sports betting, Hesse.
The GlüNeuRStV has not brought any substantial changes from the ones already being aired in public, which means all forms of online sports betting, poker and casino with slots will run within a significantly restricted gaming environment.
Markets for sports betting will be limited to the final result or next scorer, excluding the lucrative share of in-play betting, as well as over/under markets, thus pushing bettors towards unregulated operators, an issue recently pointed out by the German Sports Betting Association /DSWV/.
Regarding online casino, a €1 per spin stake limit is placed on slot machine gaming, prohibiting autoplay function and jackpot offerings. In addition, slots must be offered separately from table games, with individual states having the right of veto on the availability of the latter, choosing to allocate them or not to the monopoly state-run lotteries.
A €1,000 limit on monthly deposits per player remains mandatory for all types of gambling activities, and operators will be unable to advertise their products between 6am and 9pm, a restriction the German association of private broadcasters, Vaunet, has raised its strong concerns that it would not only impact the proper channeling of players from offshore operations to the legal market, but will also hit on the revenue from advertising for the media industry.
German lawmakers have issued a warning that action will be taken against all unlicensed gambling websites that target German residents. From approximately 100 such operators that have been warned officially, 10 have selected to exit the German market.