Whether you’re a German citizen who relishes roulette or a visitor to the EU nation seeking to spin some slots, the country is well equipped to cater for your needs. As one of the most tech-savvy nations in Europe, Germany is primely positioned to capitalise on the demand for online gambling.
Today, purveyors of slots, roulette, blackjack and other casino games can indulge their pastime online or within land-based casinos throughout Germany, despite surprisingly strict laws that are in place.
Thanks to changes made to the country’s gambling laws in 2012, online gaming is being phased out, but this has had little effect on Germans’ playing habits. While other nations have updated their laws to reflect the realities of changing technology, the German authorities have taken a step backwards.
Although German gamblers are nevertheless well catered for, the same cannot be said for German companies looking to offer online gaming services. Sadly for them, the revised laws have not made any provision for making a living off the web, leaving German firms to watch from the sidelines while the rest of the world has gotten in on the roulette rush.
Despite a certain amount of legal uncertainty regarding the status of German citizens who wish to play online, the reality is that its people can do whatever they like from the privacy of their own homes. Besides, due to the tech literacy of many Germans, circumventing geo-location restrictions is straightforward with a little know-how.
Where Can German Residents Gamble Online?
If you live in Germany and wish to play roulette, blackjack or any other casino game you fancy, the good news is there’s nothing to stop you from doing so. Citizens are free to register and play at overseas casinos, although ‘overseas’ in this case could very well mean a casino registered in an adjacent country. Not all European nations are as restrictive as Germany when it comes to doling out gaming licences.
Despite the crackdown on domestic gaming providers, Germany continues to produce no shortage of highly talented software developers, many of whom wind up working in the iGaming industry, though typically based out of territories that are more sympathetic to the trade such as Estonia and Serbia.
If you’re based in Germany and are looking to fund a casino account, be it to play roulette, slots or any other game of your choosing, there are numerous payment options that will enable you to get funds into your account.
E-wallets such as Skrill and Neteller are the most obvious options, but some casinos will also accept bank transfer. Tech-literate Germans are also fond of their digital currencies, so the tranche of gamblers that are familiar with using Bitcoin will find numerous online casinos where they can play.
Popular Types of Online Gambling in Germany
Because German gaming operators are restricted and thus citizens are obliged to play at overseas casinos, the country doesn’t publish much in the way of data regarding the playing habits of Germans.
Rest assured that the portion of the country that is predisposed to gambling reserves a particular soft spot for roulette; many of the tactics pursued by professional roulette players – or at least those who fancy their chances of reducing the house edge – originate in Germany, to the extent where such tactics are often referred to by their German name – a tactiek.
If you’re a German looking to indulge your love of roulette, you’ll find a good many online casinos that are available in the German language. The German government might be unwilling to accept the gambling deposits of its citizens, but foreign gaming firms have no such qualms.
In addition to roulette and other table games, Germans are fond of sports betting; the national sport is football, but naturally the range of sports the average German can bet on is limited only by the online sportsbook they choose to bet at (i.e. Super Lenny and Cloudbet). Germany has also produced its share of professional poker players, but few of them choose to base themselves in their home country.
While Germans love gambling as much as anyone else in Western Europe, the government’s unusually harsh approach to gambling – one which has earned it the ire of the EU – has made it hard to determine the state of play in Germany. A good proportion of the country undoubtedly gambles on a regular basis, but beyond that little is known.
The Law on Gambling in Germany
In 2008, a law was passed making online gambling illegal in Germany, but this hasn’t adversely affected the country’s 81 million residents, a good number of whom still regularly play roulette, slots and other games over the web. This is thanks in part to the ability of German states to enact their own laws pertaining to gambling, a pattern that’s been repeated in many Western nations, with local laws overriding those of the national government.
Just as Nevada and New Jersey have established themselves as gambling strongholds in the US, the same has occurred in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, until recently at least. It’s here that the country’s only licensed online gambling sites are registered, but residents of all German states are entitled to play at them.
The 2012 Interstate Treaty on Gambling
The laws that were enacted in 2008 ruffled a few feathers, so just four years later, the German government updated these with the passing of the Interstate Treaty on Gambling, or the ITG. This revised the Draconian laws passed in 2008, allowing for a limited number of online sportsbooks and lotteries to operate.
Online casinos were still excluded however, and what’s more on this occasion Schleswig-Holstein acceded to the bill, signing it and thus consigning the sites registered in the state to see out their six-year licenses, after which they will not be renewed.
Despite this reversal of fortunes for gaming companies registered in the German state, the EU has ruled that Germany is powerless to stop foreign gaming operators from providing their services to German players.
The Future of Gambling in Germany
Due to pressure from the EU and protests from its citizens, it seems inevitable that Germany will eventually bow to pressure and relax its restrictions on online gambling. The laws that are in place, while effective in shuttering German gaming companies, are powerless to prevent Germans from playing online at any site that will take their money – and many will.
For now, roulette players and anyone else with a penchant for online gambling can indulge their pastime without fear; the German authorities have never prosecuted a citizen for playing online.
What’s more, the fact that gambling is restricted in the country has one particularly beneficial side-effect for players – the government does not tax gambling winnings. Whatever you win from playing online is yours to keep.
Is gambling legal in Germany?
It’s not illegal to gamble online in Germany, but German companies are unable to operate due to laws passed in 2012.
Where can German residents gamble online?
Many overseas casinos, including a good number in Russia and Eastern Europe, welcome German players.
Are there any German-operated online casinos?
There are a handful which are registered in Schleswig-Holstein, but they will cease to trade once their license expires due to changes in the law.
Is there any tax on gambling winnings in Germany?
What are the most popular types of gambling in Germany?
In addition to table games such as roulette and poker, Germans are fond of sports betting.