State Treaty on Gaming in Force in Germany: What Changes the Online Casino Law Brings

After long negotiations, a new State Treaty on Gaming has come into force. It mainly contains regulations for online casinos. Which points are important.

Is gambling in online casinos legal? Hardly anyone could answer this question in recent years, because the legal situation as well as different statements from casino operators, players and self-proclaimed professionals caused confusion.

The answer, by the way, is no. In Germany, online gambling was illegal (with the exception of Schleswig-Holstein). The new online casino law will now put an end to the chaos. Clear targets and measures are to regulate the market throughout Germany from July 2021 – and, at least on paper, make it a safe place for players.

1. new online casino law legalizes gambling in Germany

The new State Treaty on Gambling 2021 officially legalizes gambling nationwide for the first time. The treaty came into force on July 1, 2021. It exists between all 16 federal states in Germany and regulates the handling of casino games and sports betting. For the first time, all online casinos in Germany will have the opportunity to acquire a German license and legally offer their slot games. Likewise, players residing in Germany are allowed to register at an online gaming arcade and play for real money.

2. legal situation before: gambling was prohibited until then

The legal situation in the gambling industry has often caused confusion. While there was an official ban according to German law, people still played for real money in online gambling halls and more and more providers opened their casinos. The trigger for this was EU case law. Because according to this, gambling with luck is legal as long as there is a valid EU license. This created a supposed legal gray area, because some were of the opinion that the German law violated the European freedom to provide services and thus gambling in online casinos was allowed after all. Most casino operators are therefore based in Malta or Gibraltar and offer their casino games to German players from there. However, there are now supreme court rulings, which confirmed the ban on online gambling until the entry of the new law in July 2021 in Germany.

3. drafting and ratification of the new treaty.

As early as May 2020, the draft law for the new state treaty was submitted for notification by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. After that, the so-called standstill period kicks in. During this period until August 2020, no changes were allowed to be made to the treaty and the EU Commission and EU member states had the opportunity to comment on the new law. In order for the new legal basis to gain official validity, the draft was signed by the minister presidents of the German states and ratified in the state parliaments after the end of the standstill period.

4. the objectives of the GlüStV 2021

The goals of the new online casino law are clearly defined. The top priority is a uniform legal basis throughout Germany as well as player safety. Appropriate measures and regular controls are intended to combat fraud, manipulation, gambling addiction and crime in the gambling industry, thus making online casinos a safe place.

Prevention of gambling addiction

One of the biggest problems in the game of chance is the potential for addiction. If players do not get help, not only psychological but also enormous financial damage can be the result. For this reason, all online casino providers will have to develop a social concept in the future that promotes responsible gaming and outlines the necessary assistance to prevent and combat addiction.

Player and youth protection

The GlüStV now provides uniform rules, compliance with which is to be monitored by means of regular inspections. This aspect plays an important role, especially with regard to the protection of minors. Legalization is intended to prevent the emergence and spread of unauthorized games of chance in black markets and thus significantly increase security for players.

Fair competitive conditions through unlimited concessions

While there was previously only an official German gambling license in Schleswig-Holstein, the new online casino law allows providers nationwide to apply for a German license. As there are no restrictions on the awarding of licenses, the same conditions apply to all market participants.