German Lawmakers Approve Controversial Gambling Regulations

  • Online casinos and online poker will become legal in Germany on July 1, 2021
  • Slots capped at €1 ($1.10) per spin, monthly deposit limit of €1,000 ($1,100)
  • Rules must be approved by each state parliament and the European Commission
Germany flag
German lawmakers have approved controversial gambling regulations to legalize online casinos and online poker on July 1, 2021. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Seal of approval

German lawmakers have approved controversial gambling regulations during a meeting in Berlin. As a result of lawmakers approving these regulations, online casinos and online poker will become legal in Germany on July 1, 2021. A decision was also made on where the country’s new gambling regulatory authority will be located.

online casinos and online poker will become legal in Germany on July 1, 2021

Only online sports betting is currently allowed in Germany. Each state parliament will have to ratify these new rules. The European Commission will also have to give its approval on the matter before the new rules can be implemented. 

No significant changes were made to the draft proposals that had been made public recently. Therefore, strict limits will be enforced.

Body will be based in Sachsen-Anhalt

The new gambling regulatory body will be located in Sachsen-Anhalt, which took many analysts by surprise. 

A number of states had shown interest in hosting this regulatory body. These states included Hesse, Baden-Württemberg, Schleswig-Holstein, and Nordrhein-Westfalen. Hesse was the favorite as it already oversees the licensing process for the sports betting sector.

Strict limits for gamblers

Strict limits will be in place for online gamblers. Live betting markets will be limited to select markets like next scorer and final result.

Online slots will be capped at €1 ($1.10) per spin. Online gamblers have been told that they will only be allowed to deposit €1,000 ($1,100) per month. Operators have also been told that they are not allowed to advertise between 6am and 9pm.

Slots games must be offered separately from table games. No jackpots or autoplay features are allowed, either. Veto powers will be given on a state-by-state basis to decide if table games should be allowed. States will also have the option to allow their lottery to have a monopoly on this sector. 

The licensing process

Until the new rules come into effect, the country’s third State Treaty will remain active. This was introduced in January 2020, but it only covers online sports betting.

action will be taken against unlicensed gambling sites that target German residents

Hesse is in charge of licensing. However, it has yet to approve any operators. It has been reported that 30 applications have been received to date, with 20 other operators also planning to submit an application.

Lawmakers have warned that action will be taken against unlicensed gambling sites that target German residents. Warnings have already been issued to approximately 100 such operators, which has resulted in 10 of them exiting the German market already.