Lawmakers in Berlin approved new regulations to legalize online poker and casino from July 1st, 2021. The country’s regulatory authority also decided.
The Glücksspielneuregulierungstaatsvertrag (GlüNeuRStv), which expands the nationally regulated igaming market beyond online betting for the first time, must now be ratified by each state parliament and submitted to the European Commission for approval before it can be brought into effect.
According to the Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA), the market will be overseen by a new regulatory authority, established through the GlüNeuRStV, based in Sachsen-Anhalt. Sources in Germany described this decision as “surprising”.
Legal sources said there had not been any substantial changes to the terms of the GlüNeuRStV already made public. This suggests that while sports betting, online poker and online casino games including slots will indeed be permitted, they can only be offered with significant restrictions.
The GluNeuRStv proposal would legalize iGaming across the whole of Germany and require license operators to enforce a wide range of operational and player protection measures. These measures, related to responsible gambling, include maximum single stake slot limits of €1 and a limit on in-play sports betting to next goal scorer and final markets only.
The newly proposed regulations will also restrict online casino operators. Operators will be required to remove live-dealer games and limit gamblers to a €1,000 limit in monthly deposits. Cooling-off periods are also set to be implemented.
Georg Stecker, the spokesperson for the Deutsche Automatenwirtschaft (DAW) trade group, stated “Now it is important that the federal states rely on the quality of amusement arcades when implementing the contract, both on the subject of multiple concessions and the minimum distances between venues.”
He also praised last week's approval after “years of intensive negotiations” while also observing that the planned measures will see qualitative criteria applied to the licensing process for the first time.