The situation surrounding online gambling in Germany is a pretty complex one. Some mistakenly think that it’s illegal to gamble online at all in the country, which is certainly not the truth, while others have absolutely no concerns about heading to their favourite online gambling site and playing slots, betting on sports and having a few hands of poker. So, what is the legal situation surrounding gambling in Germany? Keep reading to find out…
How It Used to Be
Online gambling legislation in Germany started with the Interstate Treaty on Gambling – a federal law that prohibited online gambling in most of its forms. The problem? It was down to individual states to decide whether to sign the treaty or not and one state – Schleswig-Holstein – decided not to sign up.
Schleswig-Holstein’s decision to ignore the Interstate Treaty on Gambling meant that it became the centre of the German online gambling world. The state issued various licences to casinos, sportsbooks and other types of gambling sites, ensuring that Germans were still able to gamble online with absolute ease.
This is how everything used to be, however, the situation surrounding online gambling in Germany changed again in 2012…
Amendment of the Interstate Treaty on Gambling
In 2012, the government reviewed the Interstate Treaty on Gambling, making some important amendments. These amendments kept online casinos illegal, however, it allowed some sportsbooks and lotteries to operate legally in the country. With this change, Schleswig-Holstein signed up to the treaty and stopped issuing licences for online casinos. Any licences previously issued were valid until their expiry though.
So, the situation now is that no states offer licences to online casinos. Does this mean that German gamblers can’t play at online casinos then? Well, no, it’s still the opposite, as you’re about to find out.
Offshore Online Casinos Are the Key
Luckily for German fans of online casinos, it is still completely legal to play at an offshore site, meaning a site that is based overseas. There was some confusion over this matter until the EU stepped in and declared that Germans could not be prosecuted for gambling at overseas sites, including online casinos. The ruling also meant that foreign operators couldn’t be restricted from offering their services in the country. A great resource for finding new online casinos that accept German players is NeueCasinos.de.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is this: German states don’t grant licences to online casino operators, however, it is completely legal for players to spend time at online casinos based overseas. So, if you’re in Germany and are looking to find a place to play slots and other casino games, you’ll find loads of different casinos willing to accept you as a member.