Germany is one of the more liberal but also one of the strangest jurisdictions in Europe when it comes to online gambling. The country has strange regulations that have halted the operation of licensed and regulated online casinos within the country. However, the rules don’t extend to players, so Germany gamblers have plenty of options when it comes to real money casino sites.
Online casino sites for players based in Germany
Can you gamble online from Germany?
Yes, you can. All of the best online casinos are based in foreign jurisdictions, and our recommended casinos are all legally regulated and licensed to offer the safest method of online gambling available. The laws are divisive and confusing in Germany, but regardless of the legality of operating an online casino, there is absolutely nothing stopping a Germany gambler from gambling online.
Except for, of course, internet service providers blocking access to such sites. Thankfully, it is very easy to bypass these lock-outs by using a VPN or simply changing your DNS location so that a website believes you’re in a different location. Using these methods comes with risks, but there are no historical references of a single individual being prosecuted for gambling online at a foreign-based casino.
Therefore, while not explicitly legal or illegal, it is safe for German players to gamble online from Germany.
Best German casino sites
Guts: Guts is regulated by the Malta Gaming Authority. It accepts Germany players and Euro currency. There is also a 100% welcome bonus for every Germany player that signs up, as well as 100 free spins across a slot game of their choice.
Thrills: Thrills accepts Germany players and offers each one that signs up a $400 welcome bonus.
Slots Million: Slots Million offers 24/7 support to German players. It is one of the most trusted and respected online casinos. It offers players more than 1000 slots, as well as many different variations of poker, roulette and blackjack. German players can sign up today to receive a 100% sign-up bonus up to €100.
GDay Casino: GDay Casino is one of the best online casinos for German players offering, an unlimited welcome bonus for all that sign up.
Euro deposit option for online German gamblers
The EURO (EUR) can be easily deposited and used directly without the need for currency conversation on all of our recommended sites. These are the most popular deposit options available at all of our recommended online casino sites:
- Bank transfers – Citadel Direct, direct money wiring
- Credit & debit cards – Visa, MasterCard, Entropay virtual Visa
- Web wallets – Neteller, Skrill, ecoPayz
- Pre-paid cards – Paysafecard, Flexepin
Overview of gambling in Germany
Casinos have formed part of Germany culture for more than two centuries. Historians believe the first casino to open in Germany legally was in Baden in 1765, and it was seen as the prime place to drink and gamble (not much has changed some 250 years later). The country has had a rather open approach to gambling for a number of decades, and as such it is littered with casinos and betting agencies. When in Germany, you certainly won’t have any issues finding a place to make a bet.
As of 2017, there are more than 65 casinos throughout Germany, half of which are owned and operated by the state. Land-based gambling generally dictates a certain standard of etiquette and behaviour from those entering premises, with the expectation that people will dress formally and show proof of age before entering.
Gambling in Germany is rather well-developed, legitimate and well-regulated, meaning there is not an overbearing sense of government control, nor a sense of illegitimacy or illegal gambling taking place. The many casinos are complimented by lotteries, which can be state or independently run, as well as bookmakers for sports betting. Betting is incredibly popular, with most of it centred around football, the country’s national sport.
Online gambling is still popular in Germany, despite being technically illegal. There is no legal history of anyone being caught and prosecuted for having gambled online, meaning it is safe to do so despite there being no legalised providers based in the country.
Online casino and gambling laws in Germany
The Interstate Treat on Gambling (ITG) effectively makes it illegal to operate an online casino or sports bookmaker inside Germany. This has been in place since January 2008, and has worked to keep all of the country’s gambling in regulated, land-based outlets. Interestingly, horse racing is the exception to the rule, although unsurprisingly seeing as though horse race betting is regulated by the state.
The Germany government has for years now asked internet service providers to block access to online casinos and the like, and many have met this request. While gambling is legal in Germany inside land-based, regulated outlets, it’s not technically legal to gamble at online casinos and the like.
These laws went not without their fair share of criticism. A number of formal and informal bodies have attacked the German government, claiming the anti-online gambling laws are in breach of Europe Union laws. Betting companies teamed up with the European Gaming And Betting Association, and thankfully for them, the European Court of Justice found in their favour.
This was a win for the German gambling industry, but little has change since the 2012 decision. The Germany government amended the laws to accept 20 licenses for online casinos and betting sites, with a 5% tax to be imposed on every wager place. The problem, however, is that the government has so far either ignored or knocked back all 100 applications for a license, and continuously pushes back the cut-off date. This means that some four years on, no online operators have been granted a license.
Schleswig-Holstein, the farthest north of the country’s 16 states, decided to take action of its own in 2012, and issued 50 licenses to online gambling sites. In response, the German government simply allowed for the licensees to continue operating until the end of their license, which at this pint stands to be around 2018.
As you can see, while the land-based gambling laws are rather simple and accessible, the online gambling scenario is complicated and frustrating. There are rogue states that are going against the federal government, and even the EU is against the German government’s approach to online gambling. Thankfully, Germany players still have many options available to them without fear of breaking the law, be it from Schleswig-Holstein outlets, or foreign gambling sites.
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