Around half of Germany’s more than 60 casinos are state-owned while the other half are run by private enterprises.
Online casino games are currently prohibited, but from Summer 2021 a new Interstate Treaty is scheduled to take effect and legalise online betting and casino games.
A transitional regime is currently in effect for online casino, which should see operators follow the Treaty rules in advance of its coming into effect, including significant restrictions on slot games compared to the typical grey market offer and a ban on table games.
Licenses for online table games will be offered as part of the new regime, but will be limited to match the number of land-based casino licenses available in each state, with each state deciding how to allocate its available licenses.
In December 2019 the European Commission opened an investigation into whether public casino operators had received state aid due to their special tax status.
The inquiry is ongoing, but in a worse case scenario German states would need to recover the state aid they have already paid out.
However, similar cases brought against North Rhine-Westphalia over its concession procedures were thrown out by the Commission in 2019.
Another ongoing EU investigation is looking into whether North Rhine-Westphalia’s annual loss compensation payments and capital injection in 2015 granted in favour of WestSpiel, the state-owned casino operator, gave the company an unfair advantage over its competitors in the region.
In recent years German casinos have also had to wrestle with smoking bans, restrictions on advertising, more stringent ID verification processes and the denial of ATM cash access for players, along with new identification requirements to combat money laundering.
And, as with much of Europe, Germany’s casinos were closed for large parts of 2020 and 2021 as state governments took measures to help fight the spread of COVID-19.
Germany’s land-based casinos today abide by a wide range of legal requirements with regard to player protection measures, ranging from strict registration and identification procedures to the establishment of player protection concepts.
Casino employees participate in regular training and the casinos themselves comply with responsible advertising controls and anti-money laundering measures.
The German casinos originally initiated and established all player protection measures contained in the Gambling Law (esp. Interstate Treaty), specifically the social concept requirement and the joint client exclusion system.
The Interstate Treaty requires licence applicants to submit a player protection concept (so-called “social concept”) in which they outline how they will guarantee a high level of player protection, in particular by means of early diagnosis and prevention.
They are also required to provide information and warnings on the addiction risks of gambling and on the probabilities of possible wins and losses. Together land-based casinos also operate a joint client exclusion system that applies across the industry.
Casino licence holders are required to develop and document individual programmes for player protection, which incorporate records of staff training and interviews with vulnerable players.
The exclusion of gamblers can take place either at the request of the player, at the initiative of casino operators, or by third parties that are directly involved. The ban lasts at least one year.
After this period the player can make a written request to lift the ban. Operators can be held liable for losses if they fail to prevent vulnerable players from playing.
Self-exclusion forms are available at every German casino. Furthermore, many casino operators offer these forms on their websites. A self-exclusion in any of the licensed German casinos will result in a ban for all the licensed German casinos.
All licensed operators are obliged to control access to slots and table gaming areas to ensure that self-excluded gamblers are not permitted to play.
The participation of minors in gambling is forbidden. Although generally players should be at least 18 years of age, some state casino laws require players to be at least 21 years of age.
Support for problem gamblers: Evangelische Gesellschaft Stuttgart e.V. & Universitätsmedizin Mainz
Legal Gambling Age: 18 Years Old
Smoking Ban: YES, NO, RESTRICTED TO SPECIFIC AREAS
Terrestrial: Multiple licences (not capped).
Online: Prohibited but without enforcement so, in practical terms, unregulated
Terrestrial:Table games, card games or roulette-based games, slot machines.
Terrestrial:Casinos are licensed and regulated by the state in which they are situated.
Size of Illegal Gambling Market:State authorities estimate the 2015 gross gaming revenues from illegal casino games and online poker to be €885m (Source: Jahresreport 2014 der Glücksspielaufsichtsbehörden der Länder, 22.12.2015).
The size of the total illegal gambling market in Germany is estimated by various studies to be €4 to €22bn (Source: Reeckmann, Illegal gambling – Need for research and action, ZfWG, European Journal of Gambling Law, 2015, p. 106).
Market Protection Measures / Tools to Tackle Illegal Gambling:Local authorities may ban illegal online and poker games at an ISP level by issuing an order. Advertising and payment blocking tools are also permitted but rarely used.
Currency : Euro
(Source:The World Bank)
GNI (2014, Local Currency, Millions): 29,02,913
Internet Penetration (Internet Users):86.2%
(Source: The World Bank)
Mobile Penetration (Mobile Cellular Subscriptions): 120%
(Source: The World Bank)
Doing Business Ranking (June 2015):15
(Source: World Bank Group)
Last Updated: May 2019