The upcoming change in the online casino gaming regulations in Germany will bring about a major transformation in the gambling industry of the country. This will create new opportunities for both established companies and new start-ups to expand their area of business. The latest German Interstate Treaty on Gambling, which came into effect on the 1st July 2021, has allowed licenses to online casinos games for the first time in the history of the country.

The Federal and State levels regulate gambling in Germany. The current laws allow land-based casinos, online and land-based sports betting, and horse race betting in the country but not online casino gaming. Only the Schleswig-Holstein state allows online casino gaming. While the state maintains a monopoly on the lottery business, they can issue licenses for offering state lottery products.

Implementation of the Law

There will be a gradual implementation of the changes by the regulatory body Glücksspiel Neuregulierung Staatsvertrag GlüändStv. They will be providing licenses for online poker and casino games and implementing strategies to legalize online gambling in the country.

At present, only companies that obtain a license from the Darmstadt Regional Council will be allowed sports betting. It is being heard that thirty companies have forwarded an application for the same and more are in the process of submitting applications. However, sports betting will be facing certain limitations as to the permissions to be granted. Along with that, several other sports betting and poker games that are popular worldwide will be allowed, but with strict guidelines. This needs to be followed by every casino offering such services to the common people of the country.

Protection of the Players

The new law introduced for legalizing online casino gambling has been prepared, keeping in mind to prevent underage gambling and counter problem gambling. When a player opens an account for engaging in casino gaming, there should be a monthly deposit limit of not more than €1000. To enhance the limit, a request is required to be made which will come into effect after seven days. However, requests to reduce the limit are immediately granted.

The operators will be prohibited from offering both sports betting and casino games from a single domain unless a completely separate area for each one is created. There should also be proper restrictions on cross-selling. For example, the casino section cannot advertise sports betting and vice-versa. For combating problem gambling, those excluded from playing will be maintained in a central database.

Protection of the Players

Affiliates and Advertising

Several restrictions have been imposed on affiliate marketing and advertising when it comes to online casino gambling. During any sports event, there should be no advertisement for gambling. Also, advertising regarding slots, poker games, and German online casinos will be prohibited from 6 AM to 9 PM. Additionally, the most common revenue share payment method for rewarding affiliates will be prohibited. Operators need to devise a different strategy for driving standard traffic to their site.

Transition Period

Keeping in view the upcoming changes, a roadmap for licensing was approved on the 9th September 2020 as a transitional regime. During this period, the operators were allowed to offer such services to the common people, providing that they had complied with the upcoming regulations.

Also, operators who did not meet the compliance requirements but still offered such services will not be granted any licenses when the law comes into effect in July 2021. Additionally, operators following the compliance norms already had a track record proving their reliability. However, the operators were not given a long time for the transition period. On 1st October 2020, it was declared the transition period would begin on 15th October 2020. The short time to prepare for the compliance norms during the transition period was criticized, as was the prohibition of advertising during the period.

Bottom Line

While there has been discontent from the regulatory environment and the gambling community regarding the changes, the step has still been considered as progress towards a regulation-compliant gambling community.

Bradley has been working in the iGaming business for multiple years. First, he worked on the operator side of an online casino, but switched to an affiliate role a few years ago. He's our iGaming expert, author and editor for all English speaking countries.

bradley sanders

Bradley Sanders

iGaming Expert & author

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