Is Gambling Legal in Germany?

Date:2024-03-05 Category: Online gambling market
Discover the ins and outs of gambling regulations in Germany. Learn about the federal and state laws governing various forms of gambling

Gambling has been a favorite pastime of many cultures throughout time, and Germans are no exception. However, it’s wise to make sure that the type of gambling you have in mind is legal in this country before getting involved with the gambling world. The rules of gambling in Germany are state-based. What does it mean? It means that although there are nationwide laws (called treaties), the specific rules of gambling are for each state to frame.

 

German Federal Gambling Regulations for Every Category

It’s easy just to say gambling has been legalized in Germany since 2011 and get on with your life. Still, when you’re actually trying to gamble in this country, you should know the regulations to find a trustworthy online or land-based casino.

 

Casino Gaming regulations

Casino Gaming regulations

In 2021, The Interstate Treaty on Gambling opened the way for online casino games by leaving the decision to each state. With the help of this treaty, private operators can ask the state government for a license for blackjack, roulette, or baccarat, and it’s up to each state to issue this license. However, very few private casinos can get this license. There aren’t many private casinos to choose from in each state. You might be able to find some state-run casinos as well, but I can promise that you won’t be spoilt for choice. As a player, this treaty will protect you by pushing operators to get a license, which ensures better security standards and more restrictions.

 

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Slots regulations

Slots regulations

Another treaty signed by the federal government of Germany is the Gaming Ordinance (Spielverordnung). This treaty regulates Slot machines and other Amusement with Prize (AWP) machines. For instance, there cannot be more than three slot machines in a bar or café and no more than 12 in an arcade. The Gaming Ordinance Act has 20 paragraphs regulating AWP games’ different aspects.

According to this Act, each AWP machine should have at least 12 square meters of space to itself and be separated from the next machine by an 80-centimeter-high wall. This law has been designed to prevent gamblers from playing on multiple machines simultaneously.

There are other rules regarding how much the players can win or lose. For instance, you cannot win over 50,000 Euros on an AWP or more than 500,000 Euros in a Jackpot. Additionally, a player can only lose up to 50,000 Euros in an hour and 300 Euros on a slot machine.

 

Horse racing regulations

Horse racing regulations

There is also a treaty about horse racing mainly regulated by the German Federal Government. According to the Rennwett- und Lotteriegesetz Act, horse racing betting can happen only with State permission, and this permission can be revoked if the bookmaker does not abide by the state rules.

The gamblers should buy their betting slips on the same day the race is. The monetary limit for betting on each race is 15 Euros, and each race has fixed odds.

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What do the German states say about gambling?

As mentioned before, According to the Interstate Treaty, each state is responsible for setting its own regulations regarding different forms of gambling. Some of these rules might be similar to the Federal Acts we learned earlier, but some might differ. Let’s find out.

State Casino Lottery Horse racing Online casino Sports betting
Baden-Württemberg Casinos with a permit can operate in Baden-Baden, Konstanz, and Stuttgart. All casinos must be closed on religious and national holidays. Visitors need to present an ID. Under €40,000, charity-owned lotteries are free to operate locally. Larger lotteries are exclusive to GKL Common Class Lottery of the States. The bookmaking agency needs to have a license. The other regulations are the same as sports betting. Not mentioned Horse racing needs a permit. It’s forbidden for people under 21. Each lottery agency should be 500 meters from another agency or children’s facilities.
Bavaria Casinos can be permitted in health spas and resorts. One casino can exist for every million people in the state. Lotteries are only state-run. Horse race betting is legal. Not mentioned Sports betting agencies require a permit to operate. However, the number of permits granted is extremely limited.
Berlin Casinos require a permit to operate, and visitors must present their ID and submit their personal information to enter the casino. Lotteries are legal. Horse racing, along with other types of sports betting, was legalized in Berlin in 2022. Not mentioned. It has been legal since 2022.
Brandenburg Potsdam, Frankfurt (Oder), and Cottbus can only be permitted to open a casino. Players must be over 18, and the casinos must check their names against the list of blocked players every time they enter a casino. Lotteries are allowed with a permit from the government. Horse race betting is legal with a permit. Online casinos are legal only if they are state-run. Sports betting is legal with a permit.
Bremen The casinos in this state are limited to people or companies who are legal entities. Lotteries are legal. Horse race betting is legal but under strict surveillance. Not mentioned Sports betting is legal but under strict surveillance.
Hamburg Only one casino can exist with 6 concessions. Lotteries are legal. Horse race betting is legal. Not mentioned Sports betting is legal.
Hesse Casinos are legal with a permit. But they must ban players who are in danger of addiction. Lotteries are legal. Horse race betting is legal. But people in danger of addiction should be banned. Online casinos are legal with a permit. Sports betting is legal. But people in danger of addiction should be banned.
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania There can be up to 6 casinos in this state. They all must have a permit. Lotteries are legal. Horse race betting is legal. Not mentioned Sports betting is legal.
North Rhine-Westphalia There can be up to 6 casinos, but the state determines the locations. Lotteries are legal. Small-scale lotteries do not require a state-issued permit. Horse race betting is legal. Legal with a permit. Sports betting is legal.
Rhineland-Palatinate There can be 2 casinos in locations determined by the state. Lotteries are legal. This state also runs cross-state lotteries with Hamburg. Horse race betting is legal. Not mentioned Sports betting is legal.
Saarland Two casinos can exist in this state. Half the shares for each casino must belong to the state. Lotteries are legal. Horse race is legal. Not mentioned Sports betting is legal as long as the betters are over 21.
Saxony-Anhalt There can be two public casinos with 6 branches each. Lotteries are legal. Horse racing is legal. Online Poker and virtual Slots are allowed with a permit. In fact, Saxony-Anhalt state is responsible for issuing online Poker and virtual Slots permits for the whole country. Sports betting is legal.
Schleswig-Holstein There can be 5 casinos in the state. And the locations are chosen by the government. Lotteries are legal. Horse racing is legal. Online casinos, as well as online Poker and virtual Slots, are legal with a permit. Sports betting is legal.
Thuringia Casinos are legal with a permit. Lotteries are legal. Horse racing is legal. Online casinos are legal, but they entirely belong to the state. Sports betting is legal.

 

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Final Thoughts

There are some restrictions for gambling in Germany, but as a player, you don’t have to worry much about them, and you’ll be fine as long as you stick to licensed casinos. In fact, in most German states,  Gambling is a popular, fun, and legal activity you can do, and you can choose to do it online or in one of the casinos across the country.

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