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Online casinos exit Germany as strict regulations come into play

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A number of online casinos are choosing to leave the German market behind as new regulations kick off on 1 July 2021.

Regulations and licensing within the online casino industry are taken very seriously. For many countries, even considering making online gambling legal is simply not on the cards. For others, moving forward with legal gambling laws means imposing strict rules that must be followed by all.

Germany is set to welcome legal online casinos into the country for the first time on the 1st of July 2021. With this exciting change comes a long list of regulations that will decide how the industry is run.

Germany's online gambling regulations

Up until now, Germany has allowed online casinos to service players within the country but only if they held a general license for business in the EU. That means all of the money generated by these online casinos never reaches the German government.

In order to change this, legislators have created the German Interstate Treaty on Gambling - or the ISTG 2021.

The ISTG will bring together all of the states and create a license for casino operators, sportsbooks, and online poker providers. This license will be heavily regulated. Here are a few of the German regulations that operators will need to adjust to if they wish to continue welcoming German players.

  • Advertising - Ads for online casinos, sportsbooks and poker operators will only be able to air ads between 21:00 and 06:00. Ads cannot target minors in any way and they cannot promise to help solve financial difficulties.
  • Accounts - The identity of players must be verified when creating a new account. The legal age of players must be checked before any casino games are made available for play.
  • Virtual Slots - Auto spins and turbo spins are banned. Each spin of the reels will need to last at least 5 seconds and the maximum wager will be €1. Virtual slots may not be called casino games and must always be referred to as virtual slots to avoid any confusion.
  • Online Poker - Assigning players to a poker table must be completely random and only online poker games without a banker are allowed to run.
  • Player Safety - Each casino will have to implement a maximum deposit limit of €1000 per player. All players must have access to a "panic button" that excludes them from playing for 24 hours.
  • Sports Betting - Players may bet on matches before they begin and as events take place throughout the game, but live betting is not allowed.

Casinos exiting Germany

Due to the rather strict regulations surrounding betting and deposit limits, as well as a turnover tax that is set to be introduced, many German online casinos are choosing to exit the market.

Operators such as Redbet, Betfair, and Ladbrokes have all left the market due to the pressure of strict rules that would need significant changes to be made to stay compliant.

Unibet Casino has not yet confirmed whether or not they will be staying put in Germany, announcing that they would be covering the possible tax implications but not stating for how long.

Betsson also announced early in June that they would no longer be accepting players from Germany and that by the 4th of June, Betsson Sportsbook Germany would no longer be active. A little over a week later, it was announced that Betsson would be teaming up with Masterpiece Gaming (a subsidiary of ProSiebenSat) to offer sports betting in Germany under the JackOne brand.

Betsson AB chief executive Pontus Lindwall, commented on the partnership, saying: “This deal proves that we have a competitive sportsbook product that is attractive and in demand by the market. Adding Masterpiece Gaming to our list of B2B sportsbook solution partners confirms our ambition to be a strong supplier on the B2B sportsbook market as part of our growth strategy. We are proud that Masterpiece Gaming has chosen us as a supplier.”

Stay tuned for more information on Germany's blossoming new casino market and more here at CasinoWow!

Published: June 16, 2021

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Article by Mira

CasinoWow Contributor

Hi, I’m Mira and I am the Wow Mama of CasinoWow! In the last years, I’ve helped the site grow by being part of each component - games, brands, bonuses, guides, news - you name it! Nothing can get past me and I have an eye for everything in the online gambling industry. My goal is to bring all those insights to the players, part of the Wow family.

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