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Online Gambling in Germany
Neuburg, 15.12.2019 - 06:58 Uhr
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Online Gambling in Germany

History - If we look at the history of online gambling in Germany, it can get somewhat confusing. Initially, there was a ban countrywide on all forms of online gaming. The only exclusions to these were horse racing betting and lotteries. Before this online gaming was legal in Germany; however between 2008 and 2012 gambling was made illegal in the country under federal law.

One state had an exception where it was still legal, and that was the state of Schleswig-Holstein. However, following 2012 gambling was made legal again by the German Government who with its legalisation brought forth regulations that were aimed at curbing unlicensed gambling in the country.

The new regulations for gaming in Germany

Each of the 16 states in Germany all now allows online gambling however you’ll find that the legislation changes from state to state, and with this diversity in legislation brings the main concern that there isn’t a set framework for every single state to follow. This is also confusing for German online gamblers as they will find themselves being subject to different laws depending on what state they’re in. In 2012 online gaming operators were present in the state of Schleswig-Holstein, which was an exception to the federal ban.

Later in this year, the Interstate Treaty on Gambling was introduced which was the much needed legal framework and still applies to this current day. It was signed by a total of 15/16 of the states in 2012 and then by the state of Schleswig-Holstein in 2013.

The treaty aims to:

- Protect consumers by curbing the activity of gambling by minors and combating people who have a problem with gambling.
- To prevent fraud within the online gambling industry.
- To clamp down on black market online bookmakers.

However, more recently the German Government have ratified this by introducing some amendments to the existing gambling laws in the country. As we have mentioned already, in the past it was hard for bookmakers to get sports betting licenses. However, they are now allowed to apply for sports betting licenses.

This will also have to go through the European Commission, and the ratification from their side is set to take place in April. When it is passed, it will come in to force from January 1st 2020 running through until June of the year after. After this period is over many are sceptical as to whether the online casino ban that is currently in force will be enforced. With many people hoping that the country adopts a more liberal framework.

If you’re found to be participating or organising unauthorised games of chance or in other words gambling, this is a criminal offence under sections 284 and 285 of the German Criminal Code. You’ll also find yourself committing these offences if you’re advertising or promoting these games. For a game to qualify as a game of chance it has to fulfil three criteria:

- Valuable consideration.
- Determination of winnings is entirely or predominately a matter of chance.
- The consideration is given in exchange for a chance to win.

However, being as we are speaking about online gambling, there isn’t any specific definition of what this is within the treaty. Therefore if you are playing a game of chance via the internet on your phone or desktop, this may be considered as gambling.

A final few notes

As we have found out today if you want to start online gambling in Germany getting your head around the laws is a lot easier now than it was previously. This is because you would have to research the specific state gambling laws which could be frustrating. Since the interstate treaty, a new law was passed through the German government in 2017.

However, following a change in government, they found that the deal wasn’t ratified. Had it passed through, it would have helped with the introduction of licensed sports betting operators; which still isn’t legal except for horse racing.

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Online Gambling in Germany.

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