Are Casinos Legal in Germany
The state treaty authorizes the authorized operation and brokerage of online gambling. As described above, only online casino games (i.e. online versions and live streams of bank holders` games) are still subject to a state monopoly, while virtual slot games and online poker can be licensed domestically, but are subject to significant product restrictions, such as restrictions on bets per spin, the minimum duration of each spin and the number of poker tables allowed for simultaneous play. Unlike online gambling, land-based gambling is subject to a variety of licensing systems at the state and local level, including brick-and-mortar casinos, gambling halls, betting shops, and lottery agents. 2. Although this is already generally legal under the previous regulation, sports betting providers can now apply for a wider range of sports betting licenses online with the new state gambling treaty (GlüStV): The GlüStV now expressly allows bets on individual events during a match or combination of these events. The Darmstadt Regional Council controls the licence application process. Responsibility for regulating gambling rests with state and local regulators. Responsibilities range from individual municipalities acting as regulators (e.g.
in the area of land-based gambling halls) to state ministries (or their subordinate authorities) that are responsible for fixed casinos, and coordinate enforcement actions against allegedly illegal gambling operators or violations of the state treaty and applicable state gambling laws. In addition, some authorities have been appointed by all States to act with the central responsibility of a particular sector. The State Association of Hesse Darmstadt is responsible for the licensing procedure for sports betting in Germany. The 2021 State Treaty provides for the creation of a new joint authority, which will have its seat in the State of Saxony-Anhalt. Once operational, the new regulator will be responsible for licensing virtual slot games and online poker. Until 31 December 2022, responsibility for regulating sports betting licences will remain in the hands of the Hesse Gaming Authority, the Darmstadt Regional Council. Online gambling and online casinos have been in a grey area in Germany for several years. This has led to legal disputes and conflicting views of federal states. Prior to 2008, gambling was not regulated as it is now; German states then tried to restrict online gambling.
The State Treaty on Gambling was introduced to find a new legal solution. However, there was a disagreement between the 16 states when Schleswig-Holstein decided to award gaming licenses for six years to several companies, including Ladbrokes, Bwin and others. After this first licence, Schleswig-Holstein withdrew from the granting of new licences and largely adopted the applicable legislation. With these rules and restrictions, companies in the online gambling sector should consult experienced German lawyers in advance to ensure that they are compliant. At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, our legal team will assist you in all disputes relating to the new online gambling laws in Germany. As far as gaming halls are concerned, the regulations do not provide for a legal limit on the number of licences available, but this sector is undergoing major changes. Strict minimum spacing requirements that gambling halls must comply with (i.e. between gambling halls and between gambling halls and institutions such as schools or addiction centres) and the requirement that gambling halls cannot operate in the same building as land-based casinos or betting shops effectively limit the number of gambling rooms available in practice. The State Treaty provides a legal basis for the blocking of payments.
The competent supervisory authority, the Lower Saxony Ministry of the Interior, started discussions with banks and payment processors, heard a procedure and finally started intervening in 2016. The responsible minister confirmed during a hearing in the state parliament that his authority will respect the transitional regulations and will not take any action against PSPs that work with operators that comply with the transitional regulations. Poker is allowed in most federal states in state casinos and is regulated by the respective State Department of the Interior/Senate. In Saxony and Baden-Württemberg, poker is not explicitly mentioned, but is approved upon presentation of an appropriate gaming concept when applying for a license and is therefore not excluded Casino games based in the Land are regulated at state level, and currently all states allow them to operate, but some have stopped issuing new casino licenses, in fact, most states have a moratorium on new licenses. And in Bavaria, casinos are a monopoly of the local government. 4. Only virtual slots are allowed, for which licenses are available and can be requested from the Saxony-Anhalt Gaming Authority. There is no national licensing process for online casinos where each state decides whether to license private operators or have a state or licensed monopoly. Machine games are only allowed in land-based casinos, restaurants, bars and gambling halls and are only subject to a license. Online slots are currently only allowed if they are operated under a license from Schleswig-Holstein.
At the time of writing, the aforementioned third Reform Treaty is by far the most important legal reform to come. The Third Reform Treaty is due to enter into force on 1 January 2020 if it can be ratified by all federal states by the end of December 2019. At the time of writing, it seems likely that this chronology can be respected. The third amendment to the treaty only makes changes regarding sports betting, but maintains the complete ban on online casinos. Ayvar Gabidullin is Director of Business Development at Slotegrator. He has over 5 years of experience leading B2B and B2C sales departments in the online gaming industry. He began his career in customer support for online casinos and became the head of a department that provides bespoke services to VIP players. He joined Slotegrator with a strong focus on the company`s products and a deep knowledge of what players need. As regards possible penalties for illegal advertising, Paragraph 284(4) of the StGB provides for a fine or imprisonment of up to one year.
However, prosecutors were reluctant to prosecute gambling operators for advertising, likely due to legal uncertainty and criticism of the restrictive regulatory approach under EU law and the constitutional requirement to ensure consistency in criminal laws. Gambling in Germany is regulated at the state and federal levels. At present, land-based casinos, land-based and online sports betting, as well as horse betting are allowed, but online casino games are only allowed in the state of Schleswig-Holstein. States have a monopoly on the lottery, but can issue licenses to offer state lottery products. The application of the law was largely limited to the application of administrative or regulatory law. Other German law enforcement agencies, especially German prosecutors, are reluctant to enforce violations of gambling law; One likely explanation for this is that Germany`s gambling regulation is characterised by legal uncertainty, as it has been heavily criticised for years in light of EU law. Casino games can only be played in casinos. The operation of casinos in some states is reserved for public authorities, while other states provide a limited number of licenses for private operators. However, the number of casinos allowed per state will always be limited and varies from state to state. In Baden-Württemberg, for example, three land-based casinos are allowed, while in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, six casino locations are provided for in the respective Casino Act.