On Thursday 15th October, Germany will start to implement its new online gambling ‘toleration’ laws. The new laws will permit license holders to offer sports betting, slots, casino gaming, and poker, but in strictly controlled ways and with a number of regulations to follow, some of which are being viewed as somewhat draconian by those involved within the industry.
The new framework, catchily entitled the “Glucksspielneuregulierungstaatsvertrag” (GluneRStV) will come into full force by the 1st July 2021 and it amongst its lengthy list of regulations are a number of key statements regarding plater protection and measures to prevent problem gambling.
Sites will be allowed to offer online slots, poker and sports betting initially, but there will be strict limits enforced on what markets can be offered for In Play betting (limited to next goalscorer and final results bets) and for slot games there will be a maximum spin stake of €1.
Other rules include slots having a minimum five-second spin duration and software will not allow customers to open multiple browser windows to enable them to play more than one slot at a time.
During the transition period before July 1st, games such as blackjack and roulette will not be permitted, while players will be limited to depositing €1,000 a month for each player.
Companies will also only be allowed to offer a new player bonus of a maximum of €100.
If a player is found to have breached these regulations, then the company holding the license could find it withdrawn and blacklisted. The operators granted licenses have been given until December 15th to implement these new changes.
Sports Betting Permits & Affiliates
Last Friday, 15 licensees were announced that have been awarded the first licenses in the country to offer sports betting (and by default, we can assume esports betting too). Last year, these 15 licensees, which include the likes of Bet365, Neo.bet, BetVictor, Ladbrokes, Bwin, and Tipico, accounted for three-quarters of Germany’s betting turnover in 2019.
However, there is concern amongst the many affiliates for these companies, with the news that the new treaty prohibits license holders from using ‘affiliate links’ and bans license holders from paying marketing sites a percentage of betting revenue generated by customers those affiliates send the operators.
Already a number of license-holders have been contacting affiliates to tell them to stop targeting German players with any promotional material for casino and poker. Indeed, many affiliates have been advised that the new rules will not even allow them to use the words casino/casinos or casino games in any advertising for their service.
So much so that a number of affiliate sites and partners face an extremely stressful and busy time to ensure that their Germany-facing sites are edited and updated to ensure that they are compliant with the new guidance.
After a period of uncertainty, operators have welcomed the clarity of the new regulations in Germany and of course, those awarded licenses are thrilled with the news. However, the measures to protect Germany punters are being viewed by many as somewhat draconian and it is going to be interesting to see how the new legislation affects the gambling industry within Germany over the coming months, especially when it is fully implemented by July 1st 2021.