Are there any bleak forecasts for the gaming industry in Germany? Due to significant delays and changes, the German betting industry has been clouded with uncertainty in recent years. Sixteen German federal governments signed a gaming treaty in 2012 with the aim of bringing sports betting into the online casino industry.
Find out here about the difficulties faced by the German sports betting industry.
Finally, the long-awaited (partial) reform of German gaming law has come into effect. The new German Interstate Gaming Treaty (ISTG 2021) entered into force in July of the same year, making the German market available to private operators.
Despite problems with the licensing process that private operators must follow, several companies have applied for and obtained licenses. The courts have been busy over the past year with gamblers seeking to recoup winnings from private operators. Different court judgments, their justifications and new developments are described here.
Recent organizational changes in the main German gambling authorities
Each of Germany’s 16 federal states has a say in gambling regulation, which means that 16 different federal agencies could rule on the matter. But two bodies have already been appointed by the federal states to manage the authorization procedures.
The Darmstadt Regional Council (RP Darmstadt) in the state of Hesse is responsible for issuing licenses for online sports betting in Germany. Saale in Saxony-Anhalt is regulated by the State Administrative Office in Halle, which grants gaming licenses for games including online slots and poker. By the end of 2022, these two organizations will be rendered ineffective.
All German online gambling licenses and enforcement mechanisms, such as prohibition orders, blocking intellectual property and banning payment service providers, will be transferred to the new joint gambling supervisory authority. games of chance in Halle on January 1, 2023.
Since July 1, 2022, GGL has been actively pursuing legal action against illegal gambling offers and promotions. The GGL primarily uses the aforementioned procedures, IP blocking and payment service provider blocking, to implement restraining orders.
In addition, the GGL can initiate criminal investigations in conjunction with the district attorney’s office. To ensure that gaming businesses can operate on a level playing field, GGL should ensure that the law is applied and enforced consistently.
Methods of obtaining a license
Private operators can apply for sports betting, virtual slots (online simulation of land based slot) and online poker licenses under the Internet Gaming Regulation and Taxation Act 2021 ( ISTG 2021). Each permit is valid for five years after issue.
Play online casino games
Online gambling is excluded from the regulations. This category includes live casino live streams that let viewers join in the action, and computer-generated simulations of popular casino games like blackjack and roulette.
Federal states have different rules regarding the possibility of acquiring a license for online casino games. Each federal state has the option of either exclusively licensing state-based operators to offer online casino games, or granting licenses to private operators as well.
There will be a limited number of licenses available to private operators if federal states decide to issue them, unlike permits for, among other things, virtual slot machines and sports betting.
Many federal states have yet to decide whether or not private operators should be able to apply for an online casino gambling license, such as the experts at https://casinoreviewers.com must also classify casinos in Germany. It has already been announced that the federal governments of Schleswig-Holstein and North Rhine-Westphalia intend to offer licenses to private operators.
Schleswig-Holstein and five by North Rhine-Westphalia will issue four permits. License applications for online gambling are being prepared. Lawmakers will likely base regulations on what is needed to run a traditional casino.
eSports, poker and slot machines
Online sports betting, virtual slots and poker have remarkably similar licensing procedures with minor differences. The most crucial elements of the general standards are summarized here.
By the end of 2022, all valid online sports betting licenses issued during the ISTG era will have expired. The application for new licenses to offer online sports betting under ISTG 2021 for 2023 and later is currently ongoing, with the first licenses expected to be issued in Q4 2022.
To operate slot machines online, the first licenses have already been awarded. In the coming months, we expect a steady influx of new licenses.
Following the ISTG 2021, the authorities maintain an official online list of all licensed and authorized gambling operators and brokers (called a safelist).
This is nothing new, recovery claims have seen an increase in activity over the past year as more and more participants attempt to recover their investments from private operators.
No final and binding decision from the High Court has been issued even though these claims have occupied the courts for several years: some courts have ruled in favor of the players and awarded them compensation (such as LG Köln and AG Essen ), while others have ruled against them and denied their claims (such as the LG München I and AG Euskirchen, LG Regensburg and LG Dresden – most of which have yet to be published). It seems that sports betting is beginning to be reborn. In this case, business owners have a fair opportunity to successfully challenge refund claims in court.
The fact that players lost their money in unlicensed German online casinos is at the heart of the recovery claims. Casino customers claim that the casinos illegally repossessed their bets, while the casinos dispute that the customers knowingly engaged in unauthorized gambling.
Players typically file lawsuits against financial institutions that process their deposits and withdrawals at online casinos.
Even though the judgments mentioned above were issued in a pre-ISTG 2021 legal atmosphere, comparable cases are still possible as internet casino operators in Germany are still providing services to the German market without the necessary license.
In summary, the recommended actions do not promote channeling. The current situation is that local operators are complaining that the measures proposed by the regulatory authorities encourage black market activity.
The German betting community and business owners have been waiting for legalization for a long time. The time is coming when online sports betting will be entirely legitimate. However, current doubts will remain. The local gaming industry is looking forward to a more stable future.