The OASIS file causes a stir. The file is for player protection. Anyone who is noted in it has no access to arcades and online casinos. However, there are exceptions because not all casinos are connected to OASIS. We explain how OASIS works, who gets banned, when, how and for how long, how bans are lifted and everything else there is to know about the registry.
Online casinos without OASIS obligation
Short and compact: What is OASIS?
The OASIS player blocking system has been in operation since August 2nd, 2021. Since then, consumers with problematic gaming behavior can be entered in the file. This is possible as a self-lock and as a third-party lock.
The abbreviation OASIS stands for ” Online Query Player Status ” and thus explains the technical functionality to some extent. Gambling operators connected to the file must check players for possible entries and prohibit the game if there is a ban. The naming is somewhat misleading, because under the same name z. B. also a project funded by the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) for “Diagnostics and Counseling of Internet Addicts and Their Relatives”.
Anyone who is entered in the file has no access to online casinos and many other gambling providers. All blocked times of all players are entered in the file. Playing is only possible again after the blocking period has expired and an application for unblocking has been made.
From the point of view of the legislator, OASIS is part of player protection. Players with problematic gaming behavior should be protected from themselves. Third parties who observe problematic gaming patterns (e.g. relatives) should also be given such an instrument to protect the persons concerned.
The legal basis of the lock file
On July 1st, 2021, the new State Treaty on Gaming came into force in Germany. As part of this contract, the 16 federal states have agreed on uniform regulation of gambling. Section 8 of the State Treaty on Gambling stipulates that a “central blocking system covering all types of games” is to be set up to combat gambling addiction.
Such blocking systems are not entirely new. Earlier state gaming treaties also provided for such registers. The new OASIS file contains data from these earlier lock files. These – especially the files from Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate – were transferred to the new, nationwide file.
The State Treaty on Gambling specifies games of chance in which blocked players are not allowed to participate. This is basically all public games of chance. Excluded, however, are the state lotteries and certain horse betting.
Operators of such games of chance are obliged to check the identity of the player before starting the game and to carry out a comparison with the OASIS file. This also applies to online casinos.
Which gambling providers are connected to OASIS?
The OASIS lock file is managed by the state of Hesse and here by the regional council (RP) Darmstadt. The RP Darmstadt also states which organizers are connected to the file and refers to the regulations of the State Treaty on Gambling. So connected are:
- Operators of amusement arcades (with cash and merchandise gaming machines)
- Promoters (and brokers) of sports betting
- Providers of lotteries that are held more than twice a week
- Casino operators
- commercial gaming agents
- Horse betting on the internet
- Organizer of online casino games
- Promoter of online poker
- Organizers of virtual slot machines on the Internet and
- Displays of gaming machines for money or goods in restaurants.
OASIS is part of a player protection package
OASIS is one of several measures that the legislator has passed to protect players. Further measures are:
- A monthly deposit limit of 1000 EUR
- A betting limit of EUR 1 per game round
- A ban on progressive jackpots
- Multiple game slowdown regulations
The monthly deposit limit of 1000 EUR applies to all online casinos across all providers. However, online casinos with foreign licenses such as those from Malta are excluded. These casinos are not connected to either the OASIS lock file or the limit file.
The limit file is managed and monitored by a central authority in Halle an der Saale. The legislator wants to ensure that no player can deposit more than 1000 EUR per month at online casinos.
There is a betting limit of EUR 1 per round. In slots, one game round equals one spin.
The law also prohibits progressive jackpots.
In addition, there are a number of regulations designed to slow down the game. This includes the 5 second rule. This states that a game round must last at least 5 seconds on average. In addition, a compulsory five-minute break is prescribed every 60 minutes. In addition, it is forbidden to play on several machines at the same time.
Who is entered into OASIS – and by whom?
Players can register themselves in the OASIS blocking file upon simple application. Then it is self-locking. This is possible according to a purely individual, subjective assessment. In addition, the State Treaty on Gambling provides for the possibility of third-party blocking.
A distinction must be made between an unlimited and a limited self-exclusion. The minimum duration of an unlimited self-exclusion is one year. Anyone who bans themselves for a limited period of time will be included in the file for a period of at least three months and will therefore be banned from the game.
For example, a player requests a one-month ban. The player ban system accepts the application, but extends the ban to three months due to the statutory minimum period.
Foreign bans last at least a year.
On the one hand, third-party bans can be initiated by gambling operators. The basis for this is the perception of the staff. In any case, the person concerned must be heard. However, this does not mean that an entry can be contradicted. Ultimately, the operators can make the blocking at their own discretion.
On the other hand, third-party bans can be applied for. Here, too, the person concerned is entitled to comment. The hurdles for third-party blocking by third parties who are not gambling operators are higher. There must be concrete knowledge about the player. The Darmstadt Regional Council cites these findings as possible reasons:
- The affected player is at risk of gambling addiction
- There is an over-indebtedness
- The player fails to meet his financial obligations
- The player risks bets that are disproportionate to his income or wealth
Anyone who wants to block a player as a third party (e.g. as a relative) must prove that they are at risk of being addicted to gambling etc. Various documents such as garnishment notices, reminders, account terminations, documents from insolvency proceedings, etc. can be used for this purpose.
AI-based gambling addiction detection? future music!
In online casinos, as is well known, there are no staff who walk between tables and machines and observe the gaming behavior of the customers. Under what circumstances might an online casino feel compelled to report a player to the OASIS ban system?
Such reports by German online casinos should not actually exist. Domestically licensed casinos need to consider monthly deposit limits as well as wagering limits. Anyone who moves within this narrow regulatory framework is unlikely to (be able to) display any conspicuous behavior.
In any case, one thing is clear: there are (so far) no algorithms that could use artificial intelligence (AI) to identify problematic gaming behavior in online casinos and thus trigger a ban. Whether there will be such algorithms in the future is completely open.
What data is stored for how long?
What data is stored in the OASIS file? This regulates § 23 para. 1 of the State Treaty on Gambling. In detail it is about:
- Surnames, first names and birth names
- Aliases, false names used
- Date of birth
- place of birth
- reason for the ban
- Duration of suspension and
- The reporting body
At the moment – according to the Darmstadt Regional Council – no photographs can be saved. However, this is planned for a later version of the OASIS lock file.
If a player is registered in OASIS, this data is visible to all querying gambling operators. After the block has been lifted, the data will be stored for six years. During this time, however, the stored data can no longer be viewed by gambling operators.
OASIS Unbanning: Here’s how
Anyone who is entered in the file as a blocked player cannot play in (online) casinos. Good to know: Player bans do not end by themselves. It does not matter whether it is a self-lock or a third-party lock. In any case, a written request from the blocked person is required to remove the block. This also applies if a player ban is temporary.
A valid application is required to lift a ban. An application is effective if it is submitted after the minimum blocking period has expired. If the request is made before then, it is void (nor will it become effective at a later date). An application submitted early must therefore be submitted again.
In order to lift the ban, players must submit the corresponding application to the Darmstadt Regional Council. There is a link to the application form.
Since July 1, 2021, applying for a ban to be lifted from a gambling operator has only made limited sense. Although this is possible, the operator must forward the application to the Darmstadt Regional Council. The ban can only be lifted by the Darmstadt Regional Council and not by gambling operators.
If the request to lift the ban is approved, time limits begin to run. Self-exclusions can be lifted one week after receipt of the application. A period of one month must be observed for third-party expenses.
If a self-lock is lifted, the applicant will be informed by the Darmstadt Regional Council. If a third-party ban is lifted, the party who carried out or applied for the ban will also be informed. According to the RP Darmstadt, this should enable these parties to apply again.
The removal of a ban is not an obstacle to being banned again. If, after a block has been lifted, a new entry in OASIS is requested, for example by a third party, and there are the necessary reasons for this, the RP Darmstadt will also initiate a new block.
Data from OASIS is not reported to third parties
Many consumers are afraid of sharing the data from the OASIS file. However, the authority assures that no data will be passed on and that all information from the blocking file will only be used within the framework of the player blocking system.
In particular, data is not reported to SCHUFA, banks or the employer. The entry in the OASIS file does not worsen the creditworthiness.
Can Gambling Deteriorate Credit?
In fact, under certain conditions, gambling can worsen the creditworthiness of consumers. However, this is not due to OASIS. A deterioration in creditworthiness is particularly conceivable if frequent deposits are made with gambling providers and these appear on bank statements and credit card statements.
In the case of a loan application, banks evaluate account movements (through clerks and algorithms). Some algorithms rate frequent deposits at lottery and gambling providers moderately negative.
Visit online casino despite OASIS entry: Is that possible?
Is it possible to visit the online casino despite being entered in the OASIS file? The fact is that all German gambling operators and thus all domestically licensed online casinos are connected to the blocking file.
However, the connection does not apply to online casinos that operate on the German market but are licensed abroad. The regulations of the foreign regulatory authority apply to these providers and therefore not the regulations of the German State Treaty on Gaming. Foreign online casinos are therefore not connected to OASIS.
In practice, these are mainly providers with licenses in other EU member states such as Malta. Licenses from countries that are closely linked to the EU, such as Great Britain, Gibraltar or the Netherlands Antilles, are also widespread.
Anyone who has their gaming behavior under control and is blocked for unfounded reasons (e.g. false statements by their spouse, misunderstandings, events that happened a long time ago, etc.) will find reputable operators without an OASIS connection in these foreign providers.
Important quality criteria for online casinos without OASIS
If the foreign providers meet a few essential quality criteria, there is nothing to be said against visiting them. Important quality criteria are:
- Full gaming license (e.g. MGA, Curacao, UKGC)
- Secure payment methods (e.g. credit card, payment initiation services, etc.)
- German speaking customer service
- Large range of games from many manufacturers
- Sophisticated technology, also mobile
If these requirements are met, it is a reputable, safe operator. The gambling supervisory authorities abroad also monitor their licensees very closely and check the integrity of the games as well as the financial stability of the providers. Casinos from abroad are more the rule than the exception on the German market. Online casinos have been licensed in Curacao since the 1990s – the country is considered a pioneer here.
Look at the current OASIS file: How many locks are there?
How many players are entered in the OASIS file? There are media reports on this, which in turn refer to statements by the Darmstadt regional council. According to this, 22,435 new entries have been recorded since the beginning of July 2021 (as of December 21, 2021).
The gaming authorities provide information on the number of player bans in the OASIS system in an annual report. The reports from previous years refer to the blocking files of the federal states (specifically the Hessian (OASIS HSpielhG) and Rhineland-Palatinate (OASIS LGlüG RP) blocking registers). Almost 47,000 players were registered there at the end of 2020 – i.e. before the new State Treaty on Gaming came into force, including the new OASIS file. Almost 35,800 of these were blocked by the blocked person themselves. There were almost 6,500 third-party bans. The majority of the bans went to casinos, significantly less to companies in the German lottery and pool block (DLTB), sports betting and horse betting.
OASIS from the point of view of gambling providers
There are still a few questions for gambling operators. The German vending machine industry, for example, explains the procedure for an external block on a website set up on the occasion of the blocking system. It is unclear how to deal with a contrary statement from the player.
These penalties threaten casinos in violation
Section 28 of the State Treaty on Gambling regulates violations of the statutory provisions and the resulting fines. Casino operators who violate the regulations (e.g. betting limits, 5-second rule, etc.) are threatened with a fine of up to EUR 500,000. There is also the possibility of confiscating what has been “earned” from the gambling operator (e.g. the casino operator’s winnings from a game with a blocked player).
Player lock files in Switzerland and Austria
Player lock files are nothing special in an international comparison. In Switzerland, for example, the federal law on gambling laws has regulated such blocks since 2017. Casinos and operators of certain online gambling games must offer player bans. Similar to Germany, there are self-locks and third-party locks.
There are also corresponding regulations in Austria, but these have not been fully worked out. However, the Gambling Act also provides for the possibility of bans to protect players.
OASIS Benefits for Players
Most people see gambling as entertainment. However, some players are not in control of their behavior and play beyond their own means. As is well known, this behavior can take on pathological features (gambling addiction).
Affected players cannot always control their behavior. Since this can result in considerable disadvantages, a consistent lock file is advantageous for these players. If you are registered in OASIS, you definitely cannot play at German online casinos and casinos and are thus reliably protected from yourself.
However, there are gaps in the protection with regard to foreign providers who are still active on the German market. Here players can also make bets that are noted in the OASIS file. This is also a result of the fragmented gambling legislation in Europe. To date, each country regulates this area itself. In Germany, it took many years before the 16 federal states were able to agree on a common framework.
Disadvantages of OASIS for players
Some players basically have their gaming behavior under control, but need a short break. This can be the case, for example, when stressful situations, personal pressures, etc. threaten to negatively affect otherwise healthy gaming behavior.
For these players, OASIS can pose a problem because the minimum ban is set at three months. If you only want to take yourself out of the game for a few weeks as a precaution, you will be forced to take a fairly long time-out here, regardless of the individual case.
The foreign bans are intended to enable third parties to report problematic gaming behavior and to protect the person concerned. However, third-party locks can also be abused. It is conceivable, for example, that angry relatives will block players for completely different reasons in order to take the fun out of the game.
Summary and conclusion
OASIS is the player blocking system for the German gambling industry. The State Treaty on Gambling forms the legal basis. All online casinos licensed in Germany are connected to the system. Anyone who is noted on the file may not play.
Blocks are possible as self-blocks by players and as third-party blocks by gambling operators and third parties (e.g. relatives). The minimum period for a self-ban is three months, third-party bans always last at least one year. A player ban can only be lifted after the deadlines have expired upon written application to the Darmstadt Regional Council. This authority is responsible for the administration of OASIS.
No rule without exception: There are online casinos without OASIS. These are providers with a foreign license who are active on the German market. Very often this applies to online casinos with licenses from other EU member states such as Malta. These casinos are subject to different regulations and do not fall under the German State Treaty on Gambling. Therefore, the obligation to connect to OASIS does not apply.