Germany May Slash Max Bet on Online Slots to €1

  • Germany's 16 federal states are currently negotiating a new gambling treaty
  • One of the proposals is to limit the max stake on online slots to €1 ($1.10)
  • Separate licenses would be required to offer both casino games and slots
  • Many groups believe that such a restriction would be a very bad idea
man using tablet to play online slots
German lawmakers are considering limiting how much a player can stake on online slots to just €1 ($1.10) per spin. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Concerning news for operators

Lawmakers in Germany are considering limiting how much players can bet per spin when playing online slots, with a cap of just €1 ($1.10) on the cards.

This worrying news for players and operators follows Germany’s 16 federal states making a breakthrough in negotiating a new gambling treaty.

max stake could spell disaster for operators

The states have seemingly come to an agreement on a new framework, but the finer details still need to be ironed out. The introduction of this max stake could spell disaster for operators in the region.

Limit would be on federal level

This proposed stake limit would take effect on a federal level. However, some states are looking for more independence and autonomy when it comes to arranging their gambling frameworks. 

The state of Schleswig-Holstein, in particular, is seeking an extra level of control. On a federal level, the idea is to have one online gambling license per retail casino offering. However, Schleswig-Holstein would like to be able to dictate how many licenses they can issue. 

Operators will require a seperate license for online slots and online casino games to differentiate between the two. According to the latest draft, operators will be able to apply for a casino game license and/or a virtual slots license. These gaming options are typically rolled together into a single online casino license in most countries.

Other proposals currently being considered by lawmakers include spins having to last for at least five seconds, removal of the autoplay feature, and a ban on online slot jackpots. These are similar rules to those currently in place for gaming machines in bars and arcades across the country.

Potential impact of such a limit

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) slashed the max stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) from £100 ($130) to £2 ($2.61) in April 2019. However, no changes were made to how much could be bet per spin on online slots, with only retail betting shops affected.

This move resulted in the closure of more than 700 betting shops, with thousands of jobs lost in the process. Calls in the UK to introduce a cap on online slots machines were met with a mixed response.

cap would result in Germany’s federal states losing out on valuable tax revenue

While the updated gambling treaty in Germany looks largely expansive in its proposals, restricting how much can be bet per spin on online slots could be deemed overregulation. Such a move would likely drive consumers to unsafe sites on the black market that accept bets of any amount.

This cap would result in Germany’s federal states losing out on valuable tax revenue, as well as not being able to adequately protect consumers.

Response to these proposals

The German lottery association, Deutscher Lotto und Totoblock, is in favor of these new proposals. However, the German Sports Betting Association has issued some criticism for certain aspects of the proposals.

This includes questioning live betting restrictions, the max spending limit of €1,000 ($1,100) per month, and prohibiting access to another online gambling site for five minutes after logging out of another site.

The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has made similar comments. It said that some of the current proposals would likely be counterproductive and detrimental. The EGBA has called for authorities to make changes to this draft before the regulations are finalized. The body is willing to work with German lawmakers to make improvements. 

Maarten Haijer, secretary-general of the EGBA, said: “We look forward to providing formal comments to the proposals in due course and continuing a constructive dialogue with the German authorities.”