Online gambling has been hard to quantify within Germany for quite a while. It’s been essentially a black market operation for the vast majority of services due to the strict gambling laws in the country. It means that off shore casinos are the most common way to play, but this does lead to a number of different issues. The lack of regulation in the country means that players don’t have the protection that they would have from a dedicated German regulator. It also means that some unscrupulous online casinos offer less than trustworthy services.
While sports betting at online sites is allowed, the legislation that’s in place is relatively out of date. Players don’t have the full range of choices and certain rules don’t make too much sense in a modern context. This is why in the middle of 2021 Germany will be enacting a new set of online gambling regulations. It will give players access to a large number of new gambling choices, improve the current gambling options and make online gambling significantly safer for players. So, what do the new regulations offer and will players have access to much more choice? We’ve taken a look at what will be coming in and how it will impact on German players.
When do they come in and what do they change?
The first and most important piece of information is when do the new regulations come into force. The current regulations will become concrete on the 1st of July 2021. There might be some changes to this date depending on how well casino operators are able to comply with the requirements, but that is extremely unlikely. During the time between now and the launch of the new regulations, online casinos will go through what is called a transition period. This will see them given the opportunity to operate with less stringent rules, but will have to be taking steps to implement all of the requirements from the new regulations. Many online casinos believe that this isn’t enough time to fully implement the changes, but so far the German Government has resisted any calls for an extension to the transition period.
The first major change to what’s available to players is online slots and online Poker. These are currently unavailable to German players. As they are two of the most popular online casino games this is a big deal to online casino players. However, there are some caveats in place for anyone who wants to enjoy these games. The first is that all stakes on these games will be limited to just €1 per spin. While this will provide protection to German players, especially those who have issues with problem gambling, it will also limit the potential prizes that are on offer. High roller players will be hamstrung by these stake limits as well. The €1 stake limit will also be applied to in play sports betting markets, which again will limit problem gamblers from betting too much on single bets.
The timing of video slot games will also be impacted. Each spin will have a minimum duration of 5 seconds. This is to stop players from playing huge numbers of games in a row and racking up massive debts when doing so. It’s also put in place restrictions on progressive jackpot titles. One of the legislations says that stakes cannot be used to increase the size of jackpots. This means that titles such as Mega Moolah, which offer huge potential prizes, won’t be allowed under the new German regulations. Players will also have a monthly maximum deposit amount of €1,000. While there will be special dispensation for certain players, it does mean that the majority of players will have the amount they can deposit each month limited by quite a substantial amount.
What it means for Operators
It’s not just players that will be impacted by the new regulations. Operators will also have to make a significant number of changes. The first is in relation to the €1,000 monthly deposit limit for players. Here, online casino operators will have to work together to make sure that players don’t just spread deposits around at different operators in order to go over the limit. The €1,000 is in relation to a single player, so it means that if a player makes two €500 deposits at two different online casinos, then that is their limit used up and they cannot make any more deposits at any other online casinos. This is also linked to know your customer regulations, whereby each online casino can only accept a customer if they are able to prove they are who they say they are.
Online casino operators will also have to place at least €5,000,000 as a security deposit. This is to cover any payouts to make sure that each online casino can pay out winnings to players and won’t just welch on a bet. If an online casino has higher revenues, then the amount for the security deposit will also increase.
On top of this advertisements within the online gambling world will also have a lot of restrictions placed on them. While these regulations might seem harsh at first glance, they are actually in place to protect players. It means that the long term impact of these regulations are aimed towards reducing issues around problem gambling. It remains to be seen if these regulations will have the desired impact, but it’s good to see the German Government taking a positive step without infringing on player rights too much.