Online Gambling is one of the biggest sources of entertainment for people worldwide including Germany. While it is illegal to host a German casino, it is unclear what the laws are regarding placing bets online. While some might say the laws clearly indicated online gambling is illegal, the authorities seem to be focused only on which operators should have the right to offer their services to the public.
While most Germans are avid online casino players there are others who are a little bit more hesitant to join in on the fun. The uncertainty regarding the gambling regulations leave many hesitant and scared of the trouble they might be getting into by participating in the act of online gaming.
With the industry growing at a rapid speed it could become quite a lucrative source of income for the government. With that being said it is even more important that rules and gambling regulations are implemented to provide players with a sense of security. These regulations can also help ensure that players take part in responsible gambling. In this article, we aim to provide answers on the current legal stance on online gambling in Germany.
Mixing the old with the new
Although the German online gambling market has great potential of becoming highly lucrative it seems that the country has remained in legislative limbo. For the past five years, the iGaming and betting regulations have remained mainly the same. At this point in time, it seems as if the country remains uncertain of whether or not to legalise online gaming.
Earlier this year, a new Interstate Treaty on Gambling was approved by all of Germany’s 16 states. The unfortunate news is that it is basically a more refined version of a gambling law that was first introduced in 2012. The treaty only makes room for online sports betting services across the German States.
The new or rather revised treaty with all its minor amendments didn’t seem to please the European Commission. The latter is the EU regulatory body and one of their main functions is to monitor the gambling market regulation processes in member states.
Growing Interest in the German market
With the 2012 treaty, only 20 operators were allowed to obtain a license allowing them to provide their services in the country. This resulted in a massive uproar as there were 35 gambling operators who were interested in providing their services to the German Market at the time.
Even back then the laws were frowned upon not just by operators looking to enter the market but also by the European regulatory bodies. It went so far that the Court of Justice for the EU ruled the law illegal as it violated the standard for free trade and service provision among member states in Europe.
While most expected the new treaty to be a more lenient one that would allow all interested operators to enter the market it remains restricted. Instead of granting a limit of 20 licenses to operators, the treaty now allows for 40 licenses to be distributed to operators. It is fair to say that this has allowed the other 15 interested operators a chance to get into the German online gambling market. But it seems to be only a temporary fix seeing as the online gambling industry is a rapidly growing one and in the near future more operators would want access to the market.
The newly revised treaty might provide a little more leeway but it still violates the EU rules regarding free trade and service provision.
Taxing online gambling winnings
While casino operators in charge of state-owned casinos are charged 80% of their gross gaming revenues, privately owned casinos have a different set of rules to follow regarding taxation. Despite the uncertainty surrounding the legalities of online gambling in Germany, many Germans indulge in this highly popular source of entertainment. One of the biggest questions for these players is whether or not their winnings will be taxed. No player would want to pay 80% taxes on their winnings, luckily Germany is one of the few countries where your winnings can not be taxed. Whether you struck the jackpot online or at a land-based casino, the winnings will be yours to keep. You can happily play your way to riches without worrying about tax restraints.
The Future of Gambling in Germany
While the German Government seems to remain uncertain on whether or not they should legalise online gambling they are starting to feel the pressure from various sides. The European Commission is still not satisfied with the new legislation as it still conflicts with their standards for free trade and provision of services. It will come as no surprise if the German Authorities would be instructed to revise and construct a better legislative framework.
Lifting the cap and legalising not just sports betting but also online casino and poker betting will not just appease the European Commission but it could also generate bigger incomes for state-owned operators. The online gaming industry is a large and powerful one that lures in players from legal and illegal areas. The best option for Germany would be to completely legalise online gaming. By doing so they will not just tap into bigger earnings but they will also create a well-regulated, better functioning and safe industry for their citizens who participate in online gaming.
Is Gambling Legal?
If you are a player situated in Germany you can rest assured that it is completely fine to participate in online gambling activities. You will not be prosecuted for partaking in the act of online gambling at offshore online casinos. There are many safe and secure online casinos that not only accepts players from Germany but also provides services in German. To ensure that you don’t end up at the wrong online casino it is highly recommended to take a look at our top online casinos for German players. It is important to choose a reputable and trusted online casino as there are no laws that’ll be in your favour if your money is lost or stolen.