Is Gambling in Germany regulated?
The Germans like to try their luck at games of chance. In recent years, the popularity of gambling on the Internet has grown rapidly. The online casinos are becoming increasingly popular - and for good reason! It is much more convenient to play from home, the game selection is much bigger and more varied, and there are also many casino promotions and bonuses that are not available in the land-based casinos. However, many players are increasingly asking themselves whether it is actually legal to play on the Internet, because in most cases the operators are located abroad and have foreign gambling licenses.
The legal situation in Germany
So far, gambling is not regulated in Germany and there is no clear framework of regulations that apply to the gambling activities of foreign providers. Although the State Gambling Treaty (Glücksspielstaatsvertrag) prohibits online casinos, EU law states that European companies may offer their services to all member states. The online casinos that offer their games to players from Germany usually have a license from Malta and are controlled and licensed by the Maltese Regulatory Authority. The online casinos are therefore in a legal grey area, because on the one hand, they are not allowed to offer online gambling, on the other hand however, the German state can't take action against them because it would go against EU law.
So far, the German government has not managed to create a uniform regulation for online gambling. The attempt to issue licenses to sports betting companies failed several years ago and the procedure was criticized by the European Commission as arbitrary and non-transparent. The state of Schleswig-Holstein went its own way and issued gambling licenses to some providers who were then allowed to offer their services throughout Germany. But even these licenses have expired and they cannot be renewed.
2018: the year of upheaval?
This year gambling regulation in Germany is to be renegotiated. It remains to be seen if German states will come to a consensus and find a cross-national ruling, regulating online casinos and sports betting. The online casinos have taken significant market share at the expense of state lottery games that have recorded a steep decline in sales.
We will hopefully soon learn more about the current situation of gambling in Germany and then update you accordingly. Of course we are keeping our fingers crossed that gambling will be regulated in Germany and German players will continue to play in online casinos.