Illegal Online Casinos in Germany Can Still Operate If They Observe New Rules

  • Governments in the 16 federal states are agreeing to “tolerate” illegal operators
  • The new gambling treaty rules go into effect on July 1, 2021
  • Illegal operators have until October 15, 2020 to follow the new treaty rules to avoid prosecution
  • There has been backlash against the draft treaty due to extensive restrictions
Online gambling images with German flag
Illegal online casinos can operate without prosecution in Germany if they start to follow the new state gambling rules that will take effect next year. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Transitional measure

Unlicensed online casinos in Germany will be able to keep operating without any repercussions if they follow the GlüNeuRStV regulations included in the upcoming third State Treaty on Gambling. 

German media reported on Wednesday that the Senate and state chancelleries of the 16 federal states are agreeing to “tolerate” online gambling operators that target German residents as long as the options they offer are permissible under the new federal gambling treaty rules. This legislation goes into effect on July 1, 2021. 

operators will have until October 15 to comply with these rules

Some of the new restrictions include a max stake of €1 ($1.19) per slot machine spin, limits on in-play sports betting, and restrictions on player deposits. Operators will have until October 15 to comply with these rules and secure assurances that the German authorities will not prosecute them.

Battle against illegal operators

Authorities have been taking a hard stance against illegal operators. In Lower Saxony, there have been extensive moves to block payments to these sites. Saarland has been taking action against illegal gambling advertising, with criminal charges being filed by Hamburg authorities against Bet3000, Bwin, and Tipico. 

Speaking to NDF about the new allowances for these illegal operations, advisory board for gambling addiction chairman Hans-Jürgen Rumpf labeled them as a “free ticket for illegal providers.” He believes that the states are rewarding these companies for illegally operating in the market for so many years.

Backlash against new treaty

The new rules that are set to take effect next year have caused some waves. This will be the first time that online casinos can get an operating license across the country. To date, only Schleswig-Holstein allows online gaming. 

at least 13 of the state parliaments need to vote in favor

The treaty is still in draft stage, but a transitional arrangement will see some draft measures implemented before being fully ratified. For the final State Treaty to come into effect, at least 13 of the state parliaments need to vote in favor. 

Lobbying groups for the major gambling operators have been calling on the authorities to ease some of the more restrictive measures. There are concerns that those that obtain licenses will face too much competition from unlicensed, offshore operators.