Germany to Issue Nine Online Gaming Licenses, Bringing Total to 12

It’s been a year since Germany first made a move to legitimize online gambling; however, the country hasn’t been in a hurry. It took a year for it to issue three licenses, but has now announced that nine more operators will soon be able to launch.

The Reichstag Building, Germany
The Reichstag Building, Germany
The Reichstag Building, Berlin, Germany, home of the lower house of Parliament. The country is making considerable progress with its online gambling plans, despite limitations. (Image: Pinterest)

The Sachsen-Anhalt State Administration Office provided an update on the status of online gambling in Germany yesterday. It was a retrospective of how the last year went following the approval of the Fourth Interstate Treaty on Gambling.

Since the government approved online gambling – casinos, poker and slots – last year, 71 operators have submitted applications for licenses. However, until now, only 12 received approval, and they can only offer online slots.

Legal Gaming Market Grows

Mernov, Tipwin and Mybet will always be the first three to gain access to Germany’s controversial online gambling market, but competition is increasing. The update from yesterday didn’t mention which operators received approval.

One application lost its chance over a lack of ties to the European community. The rest of the applications, except for eight that voluntarily withdrew, are still under review. Kindred announced last month that it was abandoning its plans for German operations, but added that it might reconsider in the future.

The State Administration Office also disclosed that 25 internet operators were referred to the public prosecutor’s offices for violating German law since the treaty became effective.

The administration has reviewed 148 cases of illegal gambling so far, according to the report. It has checked a total of 871 websites in a crackdown on illegal gambling.

The majority of the administrative proceedings focused on gambling operators who are not eligible for authorization because their registered office is outside the European community. The office also issued four prohibition orders.

Another outcome of the interstate gambling treaty was the creation of the Glucksspielbehorde (GGL), a new German regulator that will be responsible for enforcing the law. One of the first actions it will take, as of tomorrow, will be blocking illegal websites’ IP addresses and preventing online payments.

The GGL will fully control the country’s gambling laws as of January 1, 2023.

Unclear Future

Around the world, online gaming has become increasingly popular. It saw a significant gain during the COVID-19 pandemic, even though activity dropped as people began to emerge from mandatory confinement.

The future of Germany’s online gambling segment is still uncertain. All 16 states approved the fourth interstate treaty on gambling last year, making it possible for operators to apply for a German gambling license. However, restrictions are leading to resistance.

At the same time, the treaty brought with it a number of regulations. In a perfect world, they would ensure better player protection and responsible gaming. However, in the real world, this isn’t as likely.

In addition to a monthly deposit limit of €1,000 (US$1,045), there is a mandatory population register for all players. In this, players must register their name, address, a copy of the photo ID and all deposits made. The control of this register, as well as the newly introduced OASIS lock file (a self-exclusion database), is subject to the regulatory authority in Darmstadt.

In terms of the games, there are some changes with the new German license. Numerous table games are no longer allowed and the existing games are subject to change. For example, there is a betting limit of a maximum of 1€ (US$1.05).

In addition, compulsory breaks are also part of the requirements of the license. These are a mechanism intended to prevent gambling addiction.

As a result, some operators don’t see the value in applying for a license. Instead, with the help of a license from other European countries, they continue to allow playing in online casinos without limits and restrictions.

The GGL’s planned block on IP addresses may help. However, savvy gamblers with tech know-how can get around those blocks.

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