Overview of German online gambling.
Online casino gambling has taken off massively in recent years. This is especially true in Europe, where there are already a lot of traditional land casinos but also very good internet infrastructure. People are flocking to online sites to avoid travel costs, mixing with crowds and of course to get the best games. German players unfortunately don’t get things as easy as all this, because the German government has gone a different way to other EU states.
Germany is a strange country regarding online gambling because technically it is prohibited there, yet it’s also extremely popular. The government has allowed land casinos for a long time and still does, plus sportsbooks and lotteries are everywhere. Online gambling meanwhile is prohibited in all but one state. Fortunately, German players will still find plenty of sites that accept them and that cater to their needs. Let’s take a look at the situation.
What is the legality of gambling in Germany?
Germany has the official stance of making online gambling and the running of an online casino illegal. This law may seem to be the final word, but in practise this is only really applied to casinos, not to players. This situation arose from the Interstate Treaty on Gambling, which prohibits online gambling other than certain sportsbooks and horse racing, run by the state. However, one state called Schleswig-Holstein did not sign this treaty (until much later) and German players may find appropriate sites based there, or play freely if they live there.
This confusing state of affairs has made life harder for German players, as it makes it harder to find new sites. It also makes it harder to verify which sites are safe, but we will give some advice on that matter shortly. Despite this peculiar situation, it seems to be extremely rare for the government to prosecute people who choose to gamble online, as it’s still hugely popular. This popularity in turn means that there is always a thriving community to help each other find sites and get advice. Nevertheless, any online gambling is undertaken at a person’s sole discretion and it’s advised to do some research.
What else affects online gambling in Germany?
The downside to this sticky legal situation is that German sites are a bit harder to find, but they are out there. Plus, a great many sites accept Euro currency or EUR, which Germany is a part of. This can make life a bit easier because being forced to play on international sites can slow down transactions enough as it is. German players will probably have the easiest experience in banking if they use e-wallets like Skrill or Neteller, or EcoPayz.
There is also a curious upside to the prohibition on online gambling. While the government does take a tax on sports book betting, which is 5% of a player’s winnings, they do not actually take anything from other online gambling wins. These winnings are not officially recognised. Still, players should always take caution when gambling online as they are vulnerable to legal attack. It is hoped that in the future, Germany will relax its laws because they seem to contradict EU free trade regulations.
What should I look for in a German online casino?
German players might be well served by looking for sites based in Schleswig-Holstein, which will be German made and cater to their needs. This state has since joined the treaty but their sites remain operable for several years. Failing this, simply look to international casinos which will still be able to offer things like Euro currency and German language to make life easier. Many sites have these benefits and are happy to accept German players.
Because local German law does not govern these casinos, players should be careful. Only choose sites which have a license in their own respective country and which use some kind of independent adjudicator. Bodies like eCOGRA and SQS test sites for fairness and responsible operation. You can see this kind of information at the bottom of most sites. Remember that individual states also have different legal ages for gambling. Last but not least, feel free to try the sites recommended here which are both fully safe and have comic book slots.