Germany has something of a love and hate affair with gambling. There are parts of the federal country which absolutely hate gambling. There are other parts which are very much pro-gambling, including the famous state of Schleswig-Holstein. In the past, gambling has been regulated at a federal level. More recently, Germany decided to issue national gambling laws, and that has changed the atmosphere and the landscape of gambling in Germany. What does this mean and what or where can you play? Let us find out as we take a closer look at online gambling in Germany.
Can I Gamble Online in Germany?
Despite Germany now passing national gambling laws, rather than letting each state get on with it themselves, gambling in most forms is considered legal in Germany. There are, however, a few affidavits. First and foremost, this law predominantly applies to land-based betting and lotteries. Things get a touch more complicated when we look at the online gambling rules, so they are very much worth a closer look.
A Brief Look at the Gambling Laws in Germany
The current German gambling laws (the Interstate Treaty on Gambling) were passed in 2020 and are due to come into effect in 2020. Bingo sites and lotteries are considered legal. A total of 20 gambling licensed can be issued to German sports betting websites. However, rules state that players can only stake up to a grand per month. What about poker and casino games? They are still set to be banned. The only German state which “appears” to have been spared this ruling is Schleswig-Holstein.
Online Gambling in Germany
On the face of it, things look bleak if you wish to bet on online casino games, right? Well, not necessarily. There is reason to believe that a new German gambling regulatory body, Glücksspielneuregulierungstaatsvertragl (GlüNeuRStv) could soon legalise casino gaming across every state. However, there would be strict terms and conditions for this happening. This might include €1 per spin caps on slot betting, with additional rules and regulations for poker gaming. If passed, this would be effective from July 1.
In the meantime, Germans are still legally allowed to bet at offshore casinos. While there is no law legalising playing games at offshore casinos, there is no law which prevents it. German players are certainly not punished for signing up, depositing, and playing at any online casino which is not licensed out of Germany. Moreover, the Germans are not overly effective at fining offshore operators. They have been known to implement blacklists and ISP (internet service provider) blocks from time to time, but these are on a state level, and nothing that a half-decent VPN (virtual private network) cannot work around.
Why Play at a German Online Casino?
At this moment in time, there are precious few German online casinos. However, if the GlüNeuRStv has their say, there are several reasons why you might want to play at a licensed German casino. These include:
- Strict Spending Limits: At German licensed casinos, players will only be able to bet a maximum of €1 per spin on slot games. There are already caps of €1,000 per month at German licensed sportsbooks, and this should help control problem gambling.
- Official and Legal: Any of the casinos which “could” fall under the jurisdiction of the GlüNeuRStv would be fully licensed and legal. Nobody could accuse you of doing wrong at all.
- Multi-Game Websites: The new laws would see just 20 websites licensed. Moreover, they would offer you everything from bingo to lottery, sports betting to casino games. Having all your favourite games under one roof is not to be sniffed at.
- German-Friendly Banking Options: German licensed casinos will typically excel at offering you access to German banking options. These include Sofort and other options. Moreover, you are also likely to find German-friendly software providers, such as Bally Wulff and Merkur Gaming doling out titles.
Finding the Best German Online Casinos
For the time being, online casino gaming in Germany is not possible. However, as mentioned, this may be about to change in the summer of 2020. In the meantime, you will need to head to an offshore casino if you wish to bet online. When doing this, always make sure that your chosen casino is safe and secure. Here are a few of the things you should look for:
- Reliable, Licensed and Secure: It may not be licensed out of Germany, but the casino you opt to play at should be licensed out of a reputable jurisdiction all the same. You will want to see a UK, Malta, or Gibraltar license here until German licenses become available.
- Responsible Gaming: Given that the new German gambling laws heavily enforce responsible gaming, this is something you should look for. Ultimately, you want to be able to set deposit limits and wagering caps. You will want access to self-exclusion and cool-down periods and will want to ensure that your chosen site is RNG (random number generator) certified and uses SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption. Any website which does not is unlikely to receive a German license in the future.
- A Myriad of Games: You do not want to have several accounts at multiple betting sites. A decent offshore casino catering to Germans will offer you access to a plethora of games under one roof. Not only should these include sports betting, bingo, poker, and casino games, but they should also constitute titles from a variety of software providers to boot.
- German Services: Many Germans can speak English. However, any offshore casino you are going to want to play at should provide gameplay in German. On top of that, you should look for German support and a wealth of German-friendly payment methods. Of course, this means that the site should accept the euro currency, too.
Your Questions Answered: Our FAQ Guide on German Online Casino Gambling
Players who still have a question or two remaining about betting online in Germany and German online casino gambling may find what they are looking for in this brief FAQ guide.
Until German licensed casinos go live (possibly this summer), you will have to play at offshore casinos. With that in mind, it is worth judging any offshore casino by the criteria mentioned in the last section. If it does not hold up well against that criteria, you will do well to avoid it.
No. The German gambling laws are likely to change in the coming months, which should legalise online casino gaming. Even now, though, there are no laws which expressly prohibit you from betting at foreign casinos.
You must be 18 years of age to gamble in any form in Germany. This is unlikely to change when the new gambling laws come into effect in the summer of 2020.
For the most part. There are always going to be a few bad eggs out there. However, if you play at a licensed, certified, and regulated domain which promotes responsible gaming, you should be okay.
German online casinos accept a variety of options. MuchBetter and Sofort of two of the more popular options. However, Neteller, Skrill, Paysafecard, Trustly, VISA, MasterCard and ApplePay are also used by German players to bet online.
Yes. German online casinos (which operate offshore right now) can offer bonuses and promotions to players in Germany. However, if German licensed casinos go live this summer, do not expect too many promos to be available. Germany is looking at putting some strict regulation in place to ensure that casinos cannot lure players in with over-the-top bonuses and offers.