Germany made significant changes in online gambling laws. The legality of online casinos and sportsbooks is no longer a controversial issue. They can serve the whole of Germany by obtaining a five-year license. You can expect an increase in the number of sites like https://vulkanvegas.com/de soon, and German players will now have more options. So, what do the latest legal changes cover, and what does gambling regulation in Germany bring by 2023? We answer these questions in the article.
Gambling Regulation Before 2023
First of all, we should briefly talk about the situation because Germany is a country with very complex and unique laws. It would be challenging to understand current affairs without mentioning the past. There are 16 states within the borders of Germany, and each of them has a certain autonomy within their region. So, for example, something that is not legal in the Bavaria state can be considered legal in the state of Hessen. It applies to gambling as well.
For the same reason, if your business requires obtaining a license/permit, you must obtain it separately for each state. A federal license/permit covering the whole of Germany is rarely granted because, as we mentioned above, each state has its own legal regulations. This is a serious problem, especially for businesses like iGaming that need a license to be legal, as an operator who wants to serve the whole of Germany needs to obtain 16 different licenses. It’s not just a bureaucratic nightmare — it’s impossible to do. Most states do not have any regulations on legal gambling, and those with such regulations require different procedures.
Until now, Germany’s only federal law on sports betting & casino games was the 2012 “Interstate Treaty on Gambling.” This law did not contain clear statements about legal gambling and was not supported by the states. In other words, it was not implemented in practice. The states that made gambling legal had set up two agencies to handle the licensing process:
- “Darmstadt Regional Council” in Hesse for sports betting.
- “State Administrative Office” in Halle for online casinos.
The problem was that, as German players know well, almost none of the internationally renowned operators were active in Germany. The licensees from these agencies were small-scale local companies. Big brands did not choose to enter the German market because:
- The license they would get would only be valid in a few states and would not cover the whole country.
- Each license required an investment in the state in which it was valid. So, for example, in order to obtain a valid license in the state of Bremen, you were asked to move your business to Bremen.
These were not practical requirements at all. Therefore, global brands never entered the German market. Online gambling was considered neither legal nor illegal due to the vague provisions of the 2012 law. There was a “legal limbo,” and German players often signed up at the first international casino site to welcome them as members. Fortunately, a different situation awaits us in 2023 and beyond.
Gambling Regulation in 2023 and Forward
As we mentioned before, in 2021, certain changes in federal law have been made, and the process continued until 2022:
- All forms of online gambling were made legal within the borders of Germany (including all states).
- A new agency called Gemeinsame Glücksspielbehörde der Länder (GGL) was being set up to issue the necessary licenses at the federal level.
- It was agreed that the GGL and state governments would work together. A state had the right to exclude certain games (e.g., slots) within its borders if it wished.
The new Interstate Treaty on Gambling (Glücksspielstaatsvertrag 2021) entered into force on 1 January 2023. It will be the only regulation from now on. The licensing agencies listed above were closed, and their authorities were transferred to GGL. The most important development here is that a single agency now can issue a single license covering all states. Even this situation alone can persuade global operators to enter the German market. GGL licenses are valid for 5 years, and their prices (especially when compared to the United Kingdom) are quite affordable.
However, the new federal law also contains some serious restrictions. For example, it prohibits players from spending more than 1,000 EUR per month or placing bets of more than 1 EUR per spin on slot games. ID verification must be completed at the registration stage, and the infrastructure required for this is still not ready. Live dealer games and progressive jackpots (knowingly or unknowingly) are outside the scope of the law. You will not see these categories in licensed German casinos. Nevertheless, we can say that Germany has taken a significant step in legal gambling.
-In Collaboration with Mister Bet Product