Demo slots are extremely popular with players. Ironically, the risk-free game is now largely prohibited by regulation in Germany. We explain why the new State Treaty on Gambling severely restricts demo versions and what alternatives and fallback options there are.
15 licensed online casinos with free demo slots
Free Demo Slots: Only permitted with a game account
A demo slot works in principle like a real slot. It is spun, won and lost – in contrast to the real money slot, a demo slot machine is only about play money. Of course, there are good reasons why the slot machine game demo version is so popular with players. Playing just for fun is not only fun, but also gives you the opportunity to get to know new slot machines for free.
Most players set a budget for their time in the online casino and want to maximize one thing with this budget: the fun and entertainment factor.
In order not to waste budget on uninteresting slots, players try demo versions of slot machines. After all, manufacturers like NetEnt, Microgaming, Quickspin and Co. are constantly bringing new titles onto the market. It is not always possible to judge from the description alone whether the game meets your own taste. With a few dozen spins on the slot demo, however, this can be easily found out without using real money.
In Germany, this option is now only available to a very limited extent. The reason for this is the State Treaty on Gaming that came into force on July 1, 2021. This regulates online gambling in Germany – under strict conditions – new.
For example, § 6j of the State Treaty stipulates that demo slots may only be offered to players who also have a gaming account in the respective casino. The wording states: Casinos ” on the Internet may only offer free entertainment offers that, with the exception of the fee not to be paid and a lack of monetary winnings, correspond to a public game of chance they organize or broker or are modeled on these games of chance, only to players for whom they have a game account ” consists.
However, many players appreciate visiting any online casino and testing a new slot there without prior registration – and then possibly thinking about registering. The legislator is now completely depriving players of this possibility at casinos licensed in Germany.
Game accounts without verification only possible for 72 hours
Of course, loophole seekers could now come up with the idea of only temporarily verifying an account. An e-mail address and a password of your choice are often sufficient for this. But the legislature does not make it that easy for players.
With German online casinos, the first registration already requires more detailed information about the player. Specifically, according to § 6a para. 2 ” To register first names, surnames, maiden names, date of birth, place of birth and place of residence with the organizer or agent “. This information must be checked using suitable procedures – for example using a videoident procedure.
The problem is in § 6a para. 4. Here the legislator stipulates that a pending account opening is only permitted to a very limited extent before complete verification using Videoident and Co. Specifically, casinos are only allowed to keep accounts pending for a period of 72 hours from registration – up to a deposit limit of EUR 100.
If you only need an account to play a slot demo, you don’t have to worry about the deposit limit. After all, you may not want to make a deposit at all. The fact that casinos have to block non-verified customers after 72 hours is a problem for demo players. Finally, after three days, either verification or the opening of another temporary account is necessary.
Of course, players can fully verify an account and then access the casino’s entire demo slot offering. The problem: Not all casinos offer all (new) games. Many operators only cooperate with some of the popular game providers. If you are looking for access to demo versions of all machines, you need several game accounts – and must also verify all of your personal data at several online casinos.
Conditions: Realistic probability of winning and RTP
The restrictions for demo slots in Germany go even further. § 6J para. 2 stipulates that the demo versions must correspond to the real game in terms of winning probability and payout ratio. Thus , “the free entertainment offer, with the exception of the fee not to be paid and the lack of monetary winnings, has to correspond to public gambling overall, especially with regard to the probability of winning and the payout rate .”
After all, the legislator also requires that all other taxes due in reality must also be taken into account in the simulation. This should apply to the entry tax of 5.3% that slot players have to pay in Germany.
Pros and cons of the new regulations for players
The very restricted pending account opening and ban on no account demo slots are disadvantageous for players. There is no benefit from these regulations.
The dictate that demo slots and real-money slot machines match offer advantages at first glance. In this way, casinos and manufacturers of just-for-fun slots cannot run with unrealistic payout ratios that could possibly tempt one or the other inexperienced player to place more bets on the real-money machines than seems reasonable.
But the compellingly realistic game also has a disadvantage. Especially in games with high volatility, many players use the demo versions to get to know certain features. With highly volatile slots, it often takes several hundred spins before the coveted bonus round is reached.
However, this is almost always the icing on the cake in terms of gameplay and winning opportunities. A demo slot now makes it possible to get to know the most desirable sections of a game without risk, without having to spin on paper for too long. The legislature is now taking this opportunity away from curious players. Playing demo slot machines for free without registration is almost only possible in casinos with a license from other EU countries.
German online casinos offer fewer demo slots
The range of demo slots is usually no larger than the range of real money slots. That’s why the selection of German online casinos lags behind the foreign countries. There are several reasons for that.
First, certain slots are banned in Germany. This applies, for example, to slots that imitate banker games. Virtual machine games are prohibited for such games according to § 22a of the State Treaty on Gambling. In particular, this affects the popular table games roulette, blackjack and baccarat. In the EU-licensed casino, on the other hand, demo slots and just for fun table games may be integrated into the casino website.
Secondly, there is a jackpot ban in Germany. According to § 22a para. 8 it is forbidden to accumulate stakes, winnings or parts of stakes or winnings for jackpots.
Thirdly, in Germany there is a stake tax of 5.3% on stakes in slots and online poker. It is less the amount than the design of the tax that leads to a restricted range of games at domestically licensed casinos.
The reason: Most other countries tax gross gaming revenue at the casino level. Gross gaming revenue is defined as the sum of wagers minus the sum of winnings paid out by a casino across the entire range of games.
In Germany, on the other hand, taxation is carried out at the application level. As a result, games with a payout ratio of around 93% or more are not profitable from the casinos’ point of view. Games with particularly attractive odds are therefore not available – neither as real money slot machines nor as play money slots.
Dodge the German demo slot ban: That’s how it works!
If you want to play demo slots in an uncomplicated way, you can switch to virtual countries. This is very straightforward. Foreign online casinos have been active on the German market for decades. These are reputable providers – often large, listed companies – who operate as casinos, bookmakers, etc.
These companies are based and licensed abroad and are therefore not subject to German regulatory requirements. The reason why free demo games can be offered. Common domicile countries are other EU member states such as Malta. The United Kingdom and European overseas territories (e.g. Curacao in the Netherlands Antilles) are also often used as locations.
With these providers, too, the supervisory authorities ensure that the games are fair – so if you open an account there after playing a demo slot, you’re on the safe side. Player protection and other compliance regulations also apply abroad.
For example, there are voluntary limits for deposits, stakes, net losses and session times. There are also reality checks and other measures known in Germany abroad – just not the many restrictions imposed by regulation.
With a foreign license, more games and better odds are possible
Demo slots are also possible abroad without registration. Also, players can use game accounts for a much longer period of time without verification. In practice, this is even possible up to the first withdrawal request.
There is no jackpot ban abroad and no ban on virtual banker games. Also, there is no insertion tax of 5.3%. The range of games is therefore significantly larger than at casinos with a German license.
The payout percentage is also often higher. This is not only due to the explicit employment tax, but also to other general simplifications for companies abroad. Bureaucracy and tax burdens are traditionally lower there than in Germany.
There are more games abroad for another reason: there are classic casino games such as roulette, blackjack and Co. – also in the live casino.
In Germany, classic casino games are licensed by the federal states. Most federal states have not yet awarded any concessions or have not even decided how many concessions there should be. That is why there are no classic casino games in Germany. Live casinos are prohibited by regulation anyway. These regulations do not apply abroad.
Fewer limits and restrictions at foreign casinos
In foreign casinos, many other requirements do not apply due to the regulation, which is focused on other aspects – quite independently of demo slots.
So there is no 5 second rule in these casinos. This is in the German State Treaty on Gambling in § 22 para. 6 and stipulates that a game round must last at least 5 seconds on average. In a slot machine, one game round corresponds exactly to one spin.
It is forbidden – this time due to § 22a para. 4 – also the popular autoplay function. With this, players can set the reels to spin automatically for a certain number of spins. Such programs are banned in Germany, but remain legal abroad.
The 1 euro bet limit does not apply to foreign casinos either. In Germany, according to § 22 para. 7 maximum bets of 1 euro per game round (spin) possible. This is clearly not enough for many players, especially in slot machines with low volatility.
The 1000 EUR deposit limit also does not apply. In Germany, players from all providers are no longer allowed to deposit at online casinos per calendar month. To ensure that this limit is observed, a separate authority was created in Halle an der Saale. This monitors the deposits of the players with a limit file – but only at German online casinos.
In Germany, there is also a ban on parallel play – in two respects. On the one hand, it is forbidden to play several virtual slot machines at the same time. However, many experienced players appreciate exactly this 2-, 3- or 4-fold playing field.
On the other hand, it is forbidden to play in several online casinos at the same time. This is where the newly created authority comes into play: This uses an activity file to monitor which player is active in which online casino. If a casino reports activity, no other casino may allow play.
The 5-minute forced break that has to be taken every 60 minutes is also quite unpopular with German casino players. This results from the obligation of the online casinos to provide notifications about the course of the game. The player must confirm receipt of this message. The game may be continued no sooner than 5 minutes later. This rule does not apply to foreign casinos either.
Alternative to demo slot – play with free bonus
An alternative to the demo slot can also be found in foreign casinos: playing with a free bonus. Such offers are especially for new customers. The casino provides them with a starting credit (usually about 10-50 EUR).
Unlike a free spins contingent – which is always only valid for a specific slot – the starting credit can be used universally. So players can spin any slot without having to use real money. In principle, such bonuses are not excluded at German casinos either. However, the German providers have so far been very cautious.
Conclusion: demo slots are not dead yet
The good news first: They still exist, the popular demo slots in online casinos. The bad news: The range of casinos licensed in Germany is very limited. Players must create and fully verify a game account to permanently access the demo version. In Germany there is a guarantee that the demo version will be realistic in terms of payout ratio and probability of winning – which is not necessarily an advantage for those who want to explore.
If you want to play demo slots easily and without large editions, you will find a rich offer at foreign casinos. The range of games here is larger than in Germany anyway due to various regulatory requirements. In addition, these casinos may also allow players without a game account to access the demo. If you open a gaming account, you can defer verification until the first payout – and is not excluded again after 72 hours, as is the case in Germany.