Online Gambling in Germany
History - If we look at the history of
online gambling in Germany, it can get somewhat confusing. Initially, there was
a ban countrywide on all forms of online gaming. The only exclusions to these
were horse racing betting and lotteries. Before this online gaming was legal in
Germany; however between 2008 and 2012 gambling was made illegal in the country
under federal law.
One state had an exception where it was still legal,
and that was the state of Schleswig-Holstein. However, following 2012 gambling
was made legal again by the German Government who with its legalisation brought
forth regulations that were aimed at curbing unlicensed gambling in the country.
The new regulations for gaming in Germany
Each of the
16 states in Germany all now allows online gambling however you’ll find that the
legislation changes from state to state, and with this diversity in legislation
brings the main concern that there isn’t a set framework for every single state
to follow. This is also confusing for
German online gamblers as they
will find themselves being subject to different laws depending on what state
they’re in. In 2012 online gaming operators were present in the state of
Schleswig-Holstein, which was an exception to the federal ban.
this year, the Interstate Treaty on Gambling was introduced which was the much
needed legal framework and still applies to this current day. It was signed by a
total of 15/16 of the states in 2012 and then by the state of Schleswig-Holstein
The treaty aims to:
- Protect consumers
by curbing the activity of gambling by minors and combating people who have a
problem with gambling.
- To prevent fraud within the online gambling
- To clamp down on black market online bookmakers.
more recently the German Government have ratified this by introducing some
amendments to the existing gambling laws in the country. As we have mentioned
already, in the past it was hard for bookmakers to get sports betting licenses.
However, they are now allowed to apply for sports betting licenses.
will also have to go through the European Commission, and the ratification from
their side is set to take place in April. When it is passed, it will come in to
force from January 1st 2020 running through until June of the year after. After
this period is over many are sceptical as to whether the online casino ban that
is currently in force will be enforced. With many people hoping that the country
adopts a more liberal framework.
If you’re found to be participating or
organising unauthorised games of chance or in other words gambling, this is a
criminal offence under sections 284 and 285 of the German Criminal Code. You’ll
also find yourself committing these offences if you’re advertising or promoting
these games. For a game to qualify as a game of chance it has to fulfil three
- Valuable consideration.
- Determination of winnings is
entirely or predominately a matter of chance.
- The consideration is given in
exchange for a chance to win.
However, being as we are speaking about
online gambling, there isn’t any specific definition of what this is within the
treaty. Therefore if you are playing a game of chance via the internet on your
phone or desktop, this may be considered as gambling.
A final few
As we have found out today if you want to start online
gambling in Germany getting your head around the laws is a lot easier now than
it was previously. This is because you would have to research the specific state
gambling laws which could be frustrating. Since the interstate treaty, a new law
was passed through the German government in 2017.
However, following a
change in government, they found that the deal wasn’t ratified. Had it passed
through, it would have helped with the introduction of licensed sports betting
operators; which still isn’t legal except for horse racing.