Germany, new laws about online gambling

From German laws to the intervention of the European Union: here you can find all the changes to the regulations about online gambling in Berlin and Germany.

The state treasury receives more and more money through the business of online casino and, for this reason, the laws are constantly changing. On one side this happens to increase revenues, on the other to fight the problem of pathological gambling. This apparent contradiction affects the lawmaking as well, both in Germany and in the whole European Union.

The “guillotine law”

According to recent statistics by CBGC (Global  Betting & Gaming Consultant), in 2015 the revenues from this business amounted to 5,8 billion Euros, an astonishing figure which is likely to decrease by about 2 billion Euros next year because of a Treaty on gambling (July 2017). According to this Treaty, the number of slot machines was reduced by 50% (hence the name “guillotine law” in Berlin), the minimum distance between gaming houses was increased to 500 meters and it is forbidden now to advertise the casinos publicly.

Online gambling? 40% of it is illegal

As far as online gambling is concerned, the market has been growing fast and, for this reason, solutions to illegal gambling (which represents the 40% of gambling) have to be found. The reason of this illegality lies in the fact that online gambling is forbidden by the German State. German people decide to play online on non-German sites, which are subjected to a lower taxation and can afford lawyers to dismiss the charges of Berlin officials. In the rest of Europe, with few exceptions, the task of fighting illegal online gambling is in the hands of the State, as happens in Italy, where the Agenzia delle dogane e dei monopoli (the public institution in charge of customs and monopoly) gives licenses only to the best online gaming platforms, such as, which guarantee privacy and the possibility to specify a maximum amount of money to spend on the website.

The intervention of the European Union

Before the 2017 Treaty, another interstate regulation had been in force since 2008, which forbade all kinds of online gambling, including sports betting, as well as the advertisement of online gambling on any medium. Moreover, according to the Treaty, foreign gambling societies were forbidden to accept gambles from German citizens and any online advertisement was censored, so that the providers had to block gambling websites and to stop any transaction of money. The European Union declared the regulations to be against free trade and took legal action against Germany. In 2012 a new treaty came into force, but it has been modified over the last years.

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Foto: Online-Pokern © Marco Verch – CC BY SA 2.0