German gambling laws are being reviewed after the EU Court of Justice ruled that Germany could not exclude foreign gambling operators.
German Gambling History
By the 18th century gambling was flourishing in Germany after the first official establishment was opened. Casino Baden first opened in 1765. Others followed but in 1872 a government act was passed to close all casinos.
It was not until 1933 that gambling was again legalised. Casino Baden reopened but closed again in 1944 when the second world war broke out and did not reopen until 1950. Casino Baden is rated as one of the top ten land based casinos in the world.
Today there are more than 70 land based casinos in Germany. Some are state controlled but most belong to private companies, there are about 20 private companies involved in gambling in Germany.
Casinos open in the afternoons and do not close until the early hours of the morning. Players are able to play Roulette, Bacarrat, Punto Banco, Poker and Blackjack. Most casinos also have an array of video poker and video slot machines. For poker players there are regular tournaments.
Germany has 16 states and the law permits each state to grant licenses and regulate gambling within their own territory. The 16 states take responsibility for their own laws limiting the number of casinos as required.
The German Ministry of Internal Affairs supervises gambling issues within the 16 states. Gambling laws which regulate casinos are complicated. They are designed to protect players and prevent the illegal flow of money. If you want to register to play in a German casino you have to 18 years old but some casinos have an over 21 rule. You will also have to prove your identity. Advertising of gambling is very strictly limited in order to control the gambling industry.
When the interstate gambling treaty became law during 2008, one rogue state refused to sign it. The state of Schleswig-Holstein went on to create its own gambling laws and they began licensing online gambling websites which are open to all German players. However they stopped issuing licenses from an early stage. Online gambling websites are not licensed in any other German state.
During 2012, gambling laws were amended again. The interstate treaty then banned all unlicensed online casinos in Germany. Online lotteries and a limited number of sports betting websites were permitted. The rogue German state then signed the treaty and would no longer issues licences to online gambling websites. The websites which did obtain gambling licences from Schleswig-Holstein can continue operating until their license expires.
This year the Court of Justice for the EU ruled that German exclusion of foreign gambling operators was illegal. Now they are having to review German gambling laws again. The argument was that whilst some licenses were granted to foreign gambling operators, most were excluded by German gambling laws.
Germany has not been prosecuting players for using foreign websites, most of which are licensed and regulated in their own jurisdiction. Most foreign websites have a German language version.
Read more about gambling laws in other countries.
Read more about other gambling laws in Europe: