Online Gambling in Germany

A discussion of the regulatory framework with respect to online gambling in Germany, has to start with a consideration of over-arching EU law which dictates that EU members should not engage in protectionist practices with regard to service provision. According to the European Commission (EC) and European Court of Justice (ECJ) rulings, the freedom to provide services provisions of EU law do apply to online gambling services, meaning that where a country offers a locally based online gambling product (state run lottery etc), it cannot ban access by residents to similar services provided by other EU members.

Current laws in Germany with respect to online gambling (Interstate Gambling Treaty) ban all foreign online gambling operators while permitting the State owned gambling monopoly to accept online bets. The Interstate Gambling Treaty imposes obligations on ISP’s to block illegal online gambling websites and also requires that banks restrict payments made to such sites.

At the time of writing, current German laws with respect to online gambling were under review by the EC for breaches of EU law. German players may currently encounter difficulties accessing and transacting with online gambling operators including those listed below.

[Update January 2010]

Ruling on a referred legal dispute between Winner Wetten GmbH and EU Advocate-General Yves Bot reaffirmed the principle of pre-eminence – that is, German national court must follow EU legal precedent and more specifically to the case at hand, cannot endorse an unjustified restriction on the freedom to provide services (including online gambling services). An unjustified restriction includes a situation were a local monopoly is allowed to accept bets while foreign operators are prohibited by reason of preventing problem gambling. The Advocate General’s decision is not binding on the ECJ, but is usually influential. The decision has been celebrated by the pro-online gambling lobby.

[Update September 2010]

The ECJ ruled today that Germany’s online betting monopolies were a violation of EU law. Industry commentators claim the decision will make it hard for German authorities to maintain regulations enforcing a closed market. Bwin and PartyGaming shares rose significantly following the announcement.

[Update 4 February 2016]

The ECJ ruled that Germany’s revised Interstate Gambling Treaty was an infringement of EU law in the Ince case.

Best live casinos for German players

The below casinos offer German language website and support capabilities. These casinos also all offer tables with Deutsche speaking dealers.

Live casinos for German players
Casinos
Players from your location accepted
Player access
Deposits accepted and/or can maintain account in local currency
Banking
Toll free numbers from your country
Toll free support
local language site/support capabilities
Local language
games regionally focused
Games

888 Casino

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No restrictions on sign -ups from
Germany
No deposit restrictions.
Maintain account in € EURO
Yes Full Deutsche language website and
support capability.
Tables with Deutsche speaking dealers
European based dealer room with Euro
centric games, large private room

WilliamHill Casino

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No restrictions No deposit restrictions.
Maintain account in € EURO
Yes Full Deutsche language website and
support capability.
Tables with Deutsche speaking dealers
European based dealer room with Euro
centric games, very large dedicated live room

Bwin

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No restrictions on German player
sign-ups
No deposit restrictions.
Maintain account in € EURO
No Full German language website and
support capability.
Tables with Deutsche speaking dealers
European based dealer room with Euro
centric games.

UNIBET

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No restrictions on German player
sign-ups
No deposit restrictions.
Maintain account in € EURO
No Full German language website and
support capability.
Tables with Deutsche speaking dealers
European based dealer room with Euro
centric games.