Gambling on the Internet has been very popular for years. The number of players is growing steadily and the range of online casino Germany providers, as well as the number of games, is also becoming ever more extensive. The legal situation around online gambling was relatively unclear for a long time. Because actually every online casino in Germany or playing in it was illegal until the end. Nevertheless, there was the aforementioned large offer, which was also used by thousands of German players every day. The reason for this was the EU jurisprudence. Since July 2021, however, the legal situation for online casinos in Germany has been different. Where can you play without problems, what is legal and what should be avoided?
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Unclear legal situation for online casino Germany until 2021
Up until 2012, there was hardly any gambling in Germany. What was legal or illegal was a matter for the federal states. As a result, an agreement was reached on a first sufficiently extensive state gambling treaty, which, however, simply left out a few things – as is the case with every online casino in Germany. Only the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein withdrew and dealt solely with the topic and even issued its own valid licenses, which of course were limited to the federal state. Due to this diffuse legal situation, online casinos remained an illegal matter or rather a legal gray area in almost all of Germany. Because EU law in turn legalized gambling in online casinos.
Users residing in Germany simply had to make sure to use an online casino that had a license valid for the EU. In 2020 the matter was finally rededicated and a new State Treaty on Gambling was drawn up, this time for all federal states. This contract, signed by all countries, came into force on July 1st, 2021 and brings with it some strict regulations.
What applies to an online casino in Germany with a German license?
If you look at the regulations that go along with a German license for every online casino in Germany, it quickly becomes clear that they are aimed at player protection and addiction prevention.
- Absolute deposit limit : Maximum € 1,000 per month ( High stakes are still possible here ) players are allowed to deposit across all casinos with a German license. If the limit is reached and everything is gambled away, no further gambling should be possible in the month.
- Limited stakes : A maximum of € 1 per round or spin may be wagered, regardless of the game and type of game.
- Minimum spin time : A round, a spin or the like must each last at least 5 seconds ( So you can bypass the 5 seconds ) before a stake turns into a win or a loss or a new round can start.
- Limitation of additional functions : Turbo mode, autoplay and similar comfort functions are prohibited.
- Limited games offer : Table games such as blackjack or roulette and also live casino and jackpot slots are prohibited.
- No advertising during the day : An online casino in Germany is only allowed to advertise on TV or radio between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.
- Fixed player account and nationwide player database : Certainly the most critical point. If you want to use a German-licensed online casino, you will have to create a permanent player account, which will then also be used for all other German online casinos. All account data is centrally stored and monitored in a nationwide player file, so that, for example, the monthly deposit limit can also be checked.
It is important to mention that all of the points mentioned have only been applied more or less so far. Online gambling in Germany is currently still in a transition phase and only a few online casinos have opted for the German license and adjusted their offerings accordingly. To what extent, for example, a monthly deposit limit or correct data in the player account is already checked is questionable. Nevertheless, it can be assumed that the points are actually all valid for every online casino in Germany in a short time.
The alternative: online casinos with an EU license
What was common practice until 2021 will continue to be an alternative practice: Playing at online casinos based outside of Germany. However, it is important that the providers in question have a valid license from an EU country. Because, as mentioned, it is EU law that allows this. In addition, such a license is also important because it ensures safe use. The licensing authorities in Malta, Gibraltar and Curacao (part of the Netherlands) have proven themselves and proven to be reliable over the years.
All these authorities guarantee state control of the companies or online casinos licensed by them with regard to fair and customary chances of winning, proper payment and withdrawal modalities as well as player protection in terms of personal data. The licenses issued by these authorities are, however, far less restrictive than those for an online casino in Germany, as long as the general guidelines are complied with. This means:
- No monthly deposit limit
- No wagering limit per spin or round
- No minimum spin or lap duration
- Possible functions such as turbo mode or autoplay as well as simultaneous play at several stations
- No restriction on the range of games
- No entry in player file or the like
- No verification via video-ident procedure
In addition, it should be mentioned that there are two variants of all the online casinos available: those that require registration and verification and those that can be played without entering data. For the latter, only the service used for deposits and withdrawals, such as Trustly, serves as a means for the purpose of age and personal verification. Anyone who values the greatest possible anonymity and data protection will not find what they are looking for at an online casino in Germany and will find appropriate options with foreign licenses. In any case, the seriousness of the online casino and the respective money transfer service must be observed.
What exactly speaks against an online casino Germany license?
The just mentioned aspects of data protection and anonymity are definitely critical points in the long run when it comes to German online casinos. In particular, through the establishment and use of a central player file, which accesses all fixed player accounts, one can speak of surveillance. Especially those who want to play frequently and on a larger scale should be considered observed. In addition, there may be a risk of blocking, which may then apply permanently and nationwide. So how violations of a deposit limit or the entry of incorrect data will be punished remains to be seen. However, the implementation of these measures also raises questions in itself. After all, it would be easy to use other people's marital status for additional player accounts.
The effectiveness in terms of addiction prevention is therefore only approximate. Especially since users who are already looking for unlimited games can easily find an alternative online casino with a foreign license. This will take place in particular if the limited player offer is not enough or simply too boring for a player. Table games such as blackjack and roulette are not without reason very popular and will therefore continue to keep many players in online casinos outside of Germany.
What are the advantages of an online casino in Germany?
In any case, the regulations of German licensing for an online casino but also various advantages. The prerequisite for this is that the player is not a high roller. If you instead belong to the cozy kind and don't spend hours playing every day, the possible game modes should be sufficient. In particular, the 5-second rule for spins and laps are then no longer disturbing. The monthly deposit limit, however, can actually be viewed as protection, as it makes a larger debt difficult in any case, if not completely prevented. Gambling addiction is also combated to a certain extent.
So anyone who interprets the strict rules as security features can be satisfied with a licensed online casino in Germany. Finally, a final absolute benefit is the competent jurisdiction. While with foreign online casinos a legal dispute and the like can mean all the more effort and possibly even going to a foreign court, all this with German online casinos also remains within the boundaries of the federal government.
Online casino Germany – are the winnings relevant for tax purposes?
Finally, for many players, especially newbies, the question of the tax aspect could of course arise. This consideration is absolutely justified by the establishment of a central file for fixed player accounts. However, one can be reassured here. According to local law, winnings from an online casino in Germany do not have to be taxed. The exception applies if you actually regularly achieve high profits and receive a payout in your own account. In this case you could be considered a professional player for the tax office, which means that an income tax on profits is due accordingly. Of course, this does not apply to very few players and those who are so successful will deal with the topic anyway.
That being said, the guidelines of the German license In online casinos, such intensive gaming will be all the more difficult in the future, so that those users do not need to worry about the tax aspect.