Unlicensed German Online Casinos Begin Compliance Transition Period

  • Unlicensed online casinos in Germany have until December 15 to comply with new rules
  • New rules include a €1 cap on slot spins, a ban on gambling ads, and deposit limits
  • The Third State Treaty on Gambling is set to take effect on July 31, 2021
  • Last week, German authorities issued the first 15 sports betting licenses
German flag flying on a pole
The two-month transition period to comply with new regulations has begun for unlicensed online casinos in Germany. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

The next step

The transition period in Germany that allows unlicensed online casino operators to offer restricted forms of online slots and poker without having to worry about prosecution began on October 15.

This transition period, however, will expire on December 15, at which time the operators must be in compliance with new regulatory conditions. If not, they could be targets for prosecution.

operators can no longer offer any table games on German-facing platforms

There is no indication as to how or what authorities will enforce these new measures. One of the major changes as part of the transition agreement made in September is that these operators can no longer offer any table games on German-facing platforms.

Compliance rules

The other main terms by which the unlicensed online casino operators need to comply during this transition period include a stake cap of €1 ($1.17) per spin, with no more multi-play options allowable and a five-second interval between spins.

There is a €1,000 ($1,173) monthly cap on deposits to online gambling platforms. Certain customers will be able to raise this limit to €10,000 ($11,730) or €30,000 ($35,192) after undergoing extensive checks, as well as regular monitoring of their gambling activity. Bonuses will be curtailed and advertising of casino products is prohibited.

Operators will have two months to implement the €1 cap on slot spins, but other aspects of the agreement require immediate implementation, such as the new player protection rules. 

Implementation of new measures

While the Deutscher Sportwettenverband (DSWV), the country’s operator association, criticized the timeline to implement these changes, Tipico is already fully compliant with all of the rules.

an important step towards clear and reliable regulation”

Tipico’s chief regulatory officer Karin Klein explained: “The transitional regulation in force since today (October 15) is an important step towards clear and reliable regulation for consumers, operators and authorities.” 

The Third State Treaty on Gambling is set to go into effect on July 31, 2021; it will be the first time that the German authorities issue operating licenses to online casinos.

Individual states will be able to give their lotteries a monopoly on operating online gambling products, or they can issue licenses to private operators. The total number of licenses cannot be greater than the number of land-based casinos in the state.

Sports betting licenses

In addition to the changes in Germany’s online casino landscape, a significant milestone was reached last week in the nation’s sports betting sector.

The eight-year process to issue the first official sports betting licenses in Germany came to an end when 15 operators received licenses, including GVC Holdings, Gauselmann Group, and Tipwin. These licenses take effect immediately, meaning that the operators can continue offering sports betting products.

The beginning of the licensing process dates back to 2012 when the 16 federal states in the country first approved the Interstate Treaty on Gambling. It was only in March 2019 that there was a final consensus regarding gambling law.

The Third German State Treaty extends the license period for online and offline sports betting operators until June 30, 2021. There is also the option to extend the treaty for another two years.

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