In a reversal of a 2019 German government decision to cease online casino activity, soon online gambling will no longer be verboten. Germany’s 16 federal states are set to remove those restrictions on July 1, 2021. Sportsbook operators will soon be allowed to offer online casino products – but with strict legal controls.
Ordnung Über Alles
While the Germans might face stereotypes of being overly concerned with law and order, German sportsbooks regulators recommend caution when regulating gambling. The Deutscher Sportwettenverband (DSWV) also recommends transitional regulations to allow a smooth transition for online gambling companies. DSWV president Mathias Dahms said the transitional model would allow existing casino players to gamble with reliable providers rather than seeking out black market alternatives.
“Customers will not stop playing and should be able to do so in a protected area of reliable providers,” Dahms said.
The German casino regulating body Glücksspielneuregulierungstaatsvertrag (GlüNeuRStV), an organization with a name so long that even the acronym doesn’t help, plans to implement the new law in July 2021. Online sportsbook operators will continue offering sports betting operations, and those with ties to online casino gaming may continue to offer those services during the interim. This will ensure a smooth transition for companies and gamblers.
Stringent Limits Proposed
Echoing a slot limits trend currently underway in the UK, the GlüNeuRStV is singling out slot games for some particularly rigid rules. The agency proposes a €1 per spin stake cap on slot games along with some other stringent limits. The agency wants to make each slot spin last more than 5 seconds, prohibit jackpots, and ban the autoplay function. In addition, they want slots to be licensed and operated separately from other casino products.
While the DSWV agrees with the new improvements in sports betting regulations, Dahms said the GlüNeuRStV shouldn’t be too rigid when imposing rules in order to allow a “dynamic and technology driven market”.
“A rigid set of rules that cannot be changed in the next few years will neither help player protection nor will it push back the black market that will continue to exist in the future,” Dahms said.
Discussions about the new online gaming rules will continue until March 5, when the ministers of Germany’s 16 states will meet in Berlin. At this meeting, lawmakers will finalize the regulations before submitting them to the European Commission for approval.
Despite all the rules and regulations on gambling in Germany, the revenue speaks for itself. The DSWV reported that Germans spent over €9 billion on sports betting alone in 2019. The Federal Ministry of Finance reports €500 million in sports betting tax revenue during 2019.
Adding online casino gaming revenues to the mix will result in a win-win for players and politicians alike.
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