German States Agree Not to Punish Online Casinos Complying with Future Law

Online casino operators providing their services in Germany will be able to continue to service local players as long as they follow a set of certain rules and restrictions before they actually take effect.

Local news outlets reported this week that the heads of Germany’s 16 states have agreed to allow online casinos and poker websites to continue to offer their products in the local market.

Under the country’s current gambling law, which took effect early this year, online casino and poker activities are not authorized. However, the current legal framework is only a temporary one and will be replaced by a permanent law on July 1, 2021.

That permanent law permits the provision of both online casino and online poker services, along with online sports betting.

According to German news outlets, online gambling companies offering casino-style gaming and poker to German players will be allowed to continue to do so as long as they make sure that their activities are compliant with the draft legislation that is set to take effect next year.

If operators make sure their services are compliant with the proposed new law by October 15, they will not face punishment by German authorities.


Some States Not Too Enthusiastic

Although all of Germany’s states eventually agreed not to punish iGaming operators complying with the provisions of the future law, some were not particularly enthusiastic about giving their support.

It is understood that the state of Bremen was among those to agree reluctantly to tolerate unlicensed online casino and poker activities. The state eventually gave its support out of fear that efforts toward the implementation of the new gambling law next year could collapse and leave the local iGaming space unregulated.

Some of the restrictions that online gambling operators will have to comply with include strict caps on deposits as well as a stake limit of €1 per spin for online slots games.

The state of Saarland was the last to agree not to punish online casino and poker companies for servicing local players. That state along with several others have said that the draft legislation that will take effect next year did not feature enough player protection measures, that is to say additional restrictions for operators to comply with.

Germany’s Third State Treaty on Gambling took effect early this year as a temporary framework that would pave the way for the reorganization of the country’s online gambling space. The treaty authorized the provision of online sports betting in Germany and tasked the Darmstadt Regional Council and the Hessian Ministry of the Interior with accepting, processing, and approving/rejecting betting license applications.

In April, the Darmstadt Administrative Court blocked the issuance of sports betting licenses after Austrian wagering operator Vierklee complained that Germany’s licensing process was not transparent enough and favored companies that had previously been active in the local online gambling space.

The Darmstadt Regional Council appealed the local Administrative Court’s ruling in the Kassel Administrative Court and awaits the later court’s decision on the issue.