Online gambling is a popular pastime for many across the globe whether it be with online slots, table games or sports betting. Playing online casino games in Germany has been a slippery slope over the years for its residents.
Until recently, online gambling was mostly outlawed in Germany but with the fight to stop illegal gambling, Germany has decided to take control of the gambling market within its borders instead. The new gambling regulations approved by the 16 German state leaders will, for the first time, legalise online poker and casino games.
The state leaders have also approved the creation of a new regulatory body, the Glücksspielneuregulierungstaatsvertrag (GlüNeuRStv).
Online casino and online poker will be legalised in Germany from 1 July 2021. Currently, the heads of state are in the process of approving gambling regulations and deciding upon the location of the country’s new regulatory body.
The new gaming authority, GlüNeuRStv, will expand the nationally regulated iGaming Market beyond its regular borders. This gaming authority will have power over all new gambling initiatives which includes the issuing of licensing and working with local state bodies. For many, this comes as a big surprise as it was well-known that Nordrhein-Westfalen, Schleswig-Holstein, Baden-Württemberg and Hesse, currently handling the sports betting licensing procedures, were all interested in hosting the regulatory body.
New regulations to take effect
Some of the new regulations to take effect have already been made public and while nothing is set in stone, there have been little changes to these. It is clear online poker, sports betting and online casino games will be legalised but offered with strong restrictions.
The new regulations on sports betting will ensure that live betting to markets will be limited to the final result or next scorer. This is one restriction which has already received plenty of criticism from industry professionals such as operator association, the Deutscher Sportwettenverband.
When it comes to online slot gameplay there will be a €1 stake limit on every spin. Slot games will also have to be offered separately to table games and autoplay functions must be disabled. The regulations also require that there are no jackpots available on these slot games.
For table games, each state will get to decide whether or not they allow it as well as provide lotteries within the state monopoly over the games.
Furthermore, there will be a mandatory €1,000 deposit limit which has to be implemented across all providers. And no operator will be able to broadcast any form of advertisement between 6 am and 9 pm. According to the German Association of Private Broadcasters, Vaunet, this restriction will severally impact the efforts to move players towards legal offers and reduce all potential advertising revenue for media businesses.
The future of online gambling in Germany
Currently, the heads of state and the new gaming authority are working towards ironing out the regulations. Until the GlüNeuRStV comes into force, the third State Treaty remains in place which will limit the market to online betting until 30 June 2021. The body in the State of Hesse is at this time responsible for processing licensing applications and has not yet issued its first approvals.
The heads of state are hard at work to regain control over the online casinos in Germany. The aim of the new gambling regulations is to curb illegal/ black-market gambling and create a safe, legal gaming environment for online casino players.
That being said, the current restrictions German officials plan to enforce might have the complete opposite effect. The heavy restrictions on sports betting, online slots and table games could result in players still actively choosing to play at unregulated online casinos.
The German gambling regulations that will come into effect could create a restrictive gaming environment where players don’t have much variety to choose from or reason to play. With the removal of jackpots, restrictive sports betting options and selectiveness on table games it could be considered too rigid for any online casino player to bare.
At the same time, these restrictions don’t appear to be stopping operators from lining up for licensing applications. By February there were 30 applications and since then 20 more operators had shown interest in applying.