German Online Casinos Will Not Face Penalties If They Follow Future Laws Now
All 16 German states have agreed to allow online casinos and poker rooms to continue operations provided that they start complying with the nation’s new gambling laws scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2021.
The current gambling laws that are being enforced in Germany are temporary. Come July 1, 2021, the new gambling laws will allow legal online casinos, sportsbooks, and poker rooms to operate legally.
However, heads of the 16 German states agreed that existing online casinos and poker rooms servicing German punters can continue operating as long as they abide by the new gambling laws set out in the draft legislation before they become permanent. Gaming operators will need to ensure they are compliant by October 15, 2020 or they will face penalties.
Some of the more notable rules in the draft legislation include a hard cap on how much punters can deposit in any given time period, in addition to a set max wager of €1 on all online slots.
Agreement Struck to Weaken Illegal Operators
While the national agreement was struck in a timely fashion, not all German states did so enthusiastically.
The states of Bremen and Saarland were particularly troubled by what they held were a lack of player protection measures on the draft legislation. The heads of both states also hesitated in promising illegal gambling operators a free pass for their years of operations in Germany.
Ultimately, both states capitulated, citing fears that holding up the progress of the new gambling laws could lead to illegal gambling operators gaining a further advantage in the legal German gambling market in 2021.
Third State Treaty Allows Online Sports Bets
Germany’s “Third State Treaty on Gambling” came into effect in early 2020 as a temporary stopgap to ensure a smooth transition to the state’s online gambling industry, scheduled for launch in 2021. The treaty allows online sports betting in Germany, and names the Darmstadt Regional Council and the Hessian Ministry of the Interior as the chief authorities in the processing and approval of sports betting license applications.
In April 2020, the Dardmstadt Administrative Court prevented the granting of sports betting licenses due to a case brought forward by Vierklee, a gambling operator based out of Austria, which contended that Germany’s licensing process was opaque and gives preferential treatment to certain companies.
The Darmstadt Regional Council has appealed this ruling in the Kassel Administrative Court, which has yet to decide on the issue.