German State Heads Ratify New Online Betting, Casino, Poker Legislation

The heads of Germany’s 16 states late last month ratified Glücksspielstaatsvertrag 2021, the country’s new gambling law that is set to take effect in July 2021.

The heads of the 16 states participated in a remote meeting held October 28-30 and chaired by Berlin. The ratification of the new gambling regulatory framework was an important step in the process for the reorganization of Germany’s gaming and sports betting market and is actually one of the final steps before the framework takes effect next year.

Germany’s Gambling Reorganization Transition Period Starts with Many Ifs and Buts

The state officials approved draft legislation this past March to pave the way for the eventual ratification of the new law. The piece was then handed to the European Commission for a review. European authorities did not intervene with the legislation within a three-month period, which meant that the heads of the 16 German states could move forward with ratifying it.

The newly ratified framework now needs to be adopted as a valid state law by courts in all 16 states so its provisions can become effective on July 1, 2021, the day Germany’s new gambling regime is scheduled to take force.

What Is Legal Under Germany’s New Gambling Law?

Glücksspielstaatsvertrag legalizes online sports betting, online casinos, and online poker, enabling interested digital gambling operators to apply for licenses from German regulators and operate in a regulated environment.

It should be noted that the country regulated its online sports betting field this past January when the so-called Third State Treaty on Gambling became effective. The Treaty was enforced as a temporary law until July 2021 when the permanent framework is set to take effect.

Online casino-style gaming and poker are prohibited under that temporary law, but German lawmakers announced in September a Tolerance Policy per which online gambling companies will not be prosecuted and penalized for offering casino and poker products to German customers before July 2021 as long as they make sure their offering is fully compliant with the provisions of Glücksspielstaatsvertrag.

And to make their operations compliant, operators had until October 15 to remove all table games from their Germany-facing game lobbies, implement a €1 per spin cap on slots stakes, a €1,000 cap on monthly deposits, and a five-second interval between each spin, disable autoplay on all slots, and display a panic button at all times so that players can self-exclude from an online casino whenever they feel the need to, among other things.

It should also be noted that Germany issued last month the first sports betting licenses under its new regulations. Competent regulators have so far granted 15 wagering licenses, with GVC Holdings claiming four of those.

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