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Online casino gaming is banned in Germany, as set forth in the Interstate Treaty on Gambling 2012/2020. Therefore, it can be implied that there is no licensing process or a competent authority determined in this country. Besides, regulatory enforcement is not implemented by a state, but from state to state determined by the respective gambling supervisory authorities, mostly the Ministries of the Interior in the respective state. It is also important to note a state can act on behalf of multiple states if it is instructed by the authorized German states.
Gambling in Germany - Things to Know
Plans for the new Interstate Treaty are about to take effect on 1 July 2021. There are two noteworthy updates that you should pay attention to.
Firstly, certain types of gambling will become licensable.
Secondly, there is a new proposal of establishing a new Central Supervisory Authority, which is responsible for the issuance and supervision of most gambling licenses.
The new law has been agreed upon and notified to the European Commission. To be entered into force as planned, ratification of 13 of 16 German states by the end of March 2021 is necessary.
By circular resolution of the State Chancelleries of 8 September 2020 in conjunction with Common Guidelines of the leading regulators, a Transitional Regime was adopted with effect from 15 October 2020, which waives enforcement against online gambling operators under certain circumstances.
According to the Interstate Treaty, the Ministry of the Interior in Schleswig-Holstein is the regulator entrusted with supervising licensees and taking action against non-Schleswig Holstein licensed operators.
Regarding poker, the regulation of this gambling type stays the same as this of online casino gaming (including slots, roulette, and blackjack).
In Germany, bingo is considered a lottery product that is reserved exclusively by states. Therefore, it is regulated in the same manner as lotteries.
Betting, sports or horse race betting, fantasy betting are affected by different regulations. See the table below:
Sports/Horse Race Betting
Among betting forms, only sports betting is regulated by the Interstate Treaty. Other forms are totally banned if they are offered online. Whether esports can be considered sports betting remains questionable, but German regulators tend not to consider esports a sport.
It was the main responsibility of the state of Hesse to issue sports betting licenses. However, due to the delegation to the Regional Council of Darmstadt, online horse race betting licensing is assigned to this council.
At the moment, Germany has no specific authority that is in charge of fantasy betting. It is noted that whether fantasy betting is considered gambling or not depends on the individual circumstances and particularly on the mechanics of the respective game.
It is the responsibility of the Ministries of the Interior or Regional Councils to license and supervise their respective state lottery company. The Ministry of the Interior of Lower Saxony will be the nationwide responsible licensing and supervisory authority that regulates brokers of state lottery products, which can be privately-owned entities and operate in multiple states. If these operators are outside the jurisdiction, they are not under the regulation of this authority.
Social or skill arrangements, including social gaming with no prize in money or money's worth and skill games and competitions with no element of chance, do not fall under the definition of games of chance and; therefore, they are not affected by gambling regulation.
Permitted and Prohibited Gambling Products
Games of chances constitute games that players need to deposit money to acquire a chance to win, and the winnings purely depend on luck. Any gambling that falls under this definition is specific to gambling legislation.
The Interstate Treaty sets out the main objectives of gambling regulation and provides or a state monopoly on the organization of lotteries, the licensure of sports betting, and the prohibition of online casino gaming.
The operation and advertising of games of chance that are considered unauthorized will be penalized.
Promotions and Advertising Restrictions
When it comes to the advertising of games of chance, it is important to note that Germany has a restrictive regime affected by tremendous laws and regulations. Generally, advertising of games of chance must not be directed at minors or other vulnerable target groups and must not be misleading. Operators are required to submit a marketing concept to apply for a license. They need to figure out which manner they intend to promote their products along with ensuring player protection.
Advertising of games of chances that contravenes the mentioned laws and regulations will be prohibited. However, this does not apply to sports betting, horse race betting, and lotteries, as operators of these gambling types can apply for advertising permits.
In 2021, the advertising restriction remains restrictive, especially restrictions for affiliate advertising.
The operation and brokerage of online gambling and advertising for games of chance on the Internet are prohibited, according to the Interstate Treaty.
At the moment, online slots are only permitted if they are operated under a Schleswig-Holstein license.
In general, it is the liability of operators for breaches of gambling regulations. Unauthorized operations, distribution, and advertising for unauthorized games may be prohibited based on the Interstate Treaty on pain of fine that varies from about EUR 10,000 to EUR 50,000, depending on the administrative enforcement laws of the German state in question.
According to the Gambling Acts of the individual German, unauthorized gambling and related advertising may be penalized approximately EUR 500,000.
Also, there may be a punishment of imprisonment for operating or brokering unauthorized games of chance at a commercial level.
As the sec. 762 (1) of the German Civil Code states, gambling debts are not enforceable but are regarded as "debts of honor". However, gambling debts related to state-approved lotteries, raffles, and licensed sports betting are enforceable.
How to Choose the Best Online Casinos in Germany
These days, it seems like there is a new casino being launched every day. While we can assure you that isn’t actually the case, there are still hundreds - if not a thousand or so - options for those looking to play their favorite casino games online. If you glance at any of these sites, they all seem to look the same – flashy graphics, some sort of bonuses, and all the same games. Therefore, we decided to select and find you the best online casinos to play in Germany.
Safety and Security
Safety and security should always be your priority when it comes to picking an online casino. A reliable casino should pay you fast and protect your personal data to the best. Therefore, we consider that as the most important factor.
Besides, we honor those casinos with SSL protection, as they ensure both data privacy and third parties leakage prevention.
Any online casinos should have their software regularly audited by third parties such as eCOGRA. Based on the regular audits, the games will run smoothly and fairly.
Game selection is also fundamental. Imagine how awful it would be if you can not find your favorite game at a particular casino. The number of games is very different from one casino to another. To find the best online casinos in Germany, we select those casinos offering games from top vendors such as Microgaming, NetEnt, and Playtech.
Bonuses and Promotions
Any online casino in Germany will offer you a great welcome bonus for your first deposits. However, rigged casinos will take advantage of the bonuses and promotions to fool and attract players. Bonuses can be in many forms, such as match deposit bonuses, free spins, and no deposit bonuses.
However, regardless of how many types of bonuses they offer, one certain thing is that there are always wagering requirements. A top online casino should be the one with clear terms and conditions.
Customer Support Service
Customer service reflects how good or bad the online casinos could be. Therefore, we only select those online casinos with a wide variety of customer support channels such as email, live chat, and FAQs. More than that, the speed of support must be fast. The answers should help to address the problems.
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Deposits and Withdrawals at German Casinos
There are some popular banking methods that you could use to deposit and withdraw at a German casino.
Credit and Debit Cards
Credit and debit cards are among the most widely-used banking methods across the world. Therefore, you can use credits and debits at all casinos, including new online casinos or established casinos.
For credits and debit cards, you can choose VISA, MasterCard, and Maestro. VISA is used in two forms: Visa Electron and Visa Debit. One thing that drives the customers away when using credits and debit cards is the slow processing time and high fees, which could be at 2.5% and 3%.
This payment method is the second most popular payment for online casinos in Germany. Players love depositing and withdrawing by bank transfer for its extreme security regarding personal information. However, banking transfer has so many complicated processes of identifications and check-ups, with high transaction fees.