Is Online Gambling legal in Germany?

5 min read

Despite the new regulations through the State Treaty on Gambling (“Glücksspielstaatsvertrag”), numerous online casinos with a licence from other EU countries, for example from Malta or Cyprus, continue to offer their services on the German market.

However, the use of online casinos that do not have a valid German licence is illegal, and can result in criminal consequences.

We clarify the most important questions in our FAQ.

Is online gambling banned in Germany?

Online gambling in Germany is a state matter and not generally prohibited.

According to the new State Treaty on Gambling 2021, a licence can be applied for in Germany for the following online offers:

  • Lottery,
  • online casino,
  • online poker,
  • horse betting,
  • sports betting,
  • virtual slot machines.

Gambling Providers need a valid licence for Germany

A licence from another EU country, for example Malta or Cyprus, is not sufficient.

Thanks to the white list of the Saxony-Anhalt State Administration Office, you can check whether the provider is in possession of a German gambling licence.

Currently, there is no provider of online casino and online poker with such a licence in Germany.

In this respect, all existing offers are currently illegal (status: 21/02/2022).

The only exceptions are the old licences issued by Schleswig-Holstein. However, these also only entitle the holder to play in and from Schleswig-Holstein.

FAQ: Is Online gambling legal or illegal in Germany?

Online gambling, like online poker or online casino, is only legal if the provider is in possession of a German licence.

Currently, there is no provider of online gambling with such a licence.

This means that all existing offers are currently illegal in Germany.

Thanks to the white list of the Saxony-Anhalt State Administration Office, you can check whether a provider has a valid licence for Germany.

It is unauthorized and illegal if you play with a gambling provider without a German licence.

According to German law, operating as well as participating in illegal gambling is criminal by law and can result in a fine or imprisonment of up to six months.

You are entitled to your winnings if you play with a provider with a German licence.

However, if it is unauthorized gambling, there is no effective contract.

In this case, you also have no right to the payment of your winnings.

Depending on the individual case, you may be entitled to a refund.

If you want to reclaim losses from illegal gambling, this is usually only possible through court proceedings.

However, this question is answered differently even by the German courts.

 

The situation is different if you have deliberately participated in illegal gambling.

In that case, there is no claim for reimbursement of costs.

Thanks to the white list of the Saxony-Anhalt State Administration Office, you can check whether the provider has a gambling licence permitted for Germany.

No online casino or online poker provider currently holds a valid licence for Germany.

Gambling licences from other EU countries, such as Malta or Cyprus, are not valid in Germany.

No. Many gambling providers promote their services with a valid EU licence.

The problem: There is no official EU licence that allows gambling in Germany.

According to the State Treaty on Gambling, (online) gambling is illegal in Germany.

Unless the provider is in possession of a German licence.

Lottery providers also need a German licence so that their offer is legal in Germany.

First, take a look at the legal notice on the provider's website.

If it is incomplete, you should not participate in any lottery draws with the provider.

Also check whether a valid German licence is available.

If a licence from another EU country is indicated, for example from France, Austria, Malta or Cyprus, the offer is illegal in Germany.

Thanks to the white list of the Saxony-Anhalt State Administration Office, you can see whether the provider is legal.

Secondary Lottery means that you bet on the results of a "real" lottery via an intermediate provider.

You do not actually participate in the actual lottery, but only place a bet on how it will turn out.

The secondary lottery is offered, for example, for "LOTTO 6aus49" or "Euro jackpot".

But also foreign lotteries such as the US "Powerball" or the Spanish Christmas lottery "El Gordo".

Recently, a steady increase in such offers can be observed online.

You can tell if it is a secondary lottery by reading the offer description carefully.

A look at the general terms and conditions, the legal notice and the information on the licence can also help.

If you find phrases such as: “Place bets on the results of state and international lotteries”, it is an illegal secondary lottery.

Even if participation is significantly cheaper than with other well-known providers, you should be suspicious.

Thanks to the white list of the Saxony-Anhalt State Administration Office, you can check whether the provider is in possession of a German gambling licence.

If the provider is not on the list, it is illegal gambling.

In such a case, you are not entitled to the payment of your winnings.

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