Are sports betting legal in Germany?

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Sports betting  such as football betting are becoming increasingly popular in Germany. The number of online betting sites has increased significantly in recent years – but with so many betting providers from numerous countries, many sports betting fans are unsettled. This blog post therefore wants to investigate the question of whether sports betting is legal in Germany .

Sports betting legal or not in Germany: State Treaty on gaming causes confusion

A confusing and vague legislation does not necessarily make answering this question easier. The first State Treaty on Gambling , which came into force in January 2008, was supposed to clarify the situation. The gambling monopoly should lie with state providers and any online gambling should be banned. In 2010 the European Court of Justice opposed this law on the grounds that it violated European law.

State Treaty on Gambling and Online Betting Licenses

The revised State Treaty on Gambling , signed by 15 states in 2011 and coming into force in 2012, was of little help. This agreement states that online gambling of any kind is not permitted unless there is a state license . This applies to lotteries, online casinos, online poker games or sports betting. In theory, however, a total of 20 corresponding licenses for sports betting were granted, which should be valid for seven years to open up the market.

However, the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein turned away from this agreement and the then state government decided at least at this point to take a different course. The state wanted to enable even more companies to offer betting and gambling . By contrast, betting customers should be given the opportunity to choose between several alternatives. With the change of the state government, however, this course has changed again. In the meantime, 26 sports betting licenses and 23 licenses for online casinos, which have been valid for six years, have been awarded in the meantime.

State Treaty on Gambling and European Law: Legality of Sports Betting

The situation is still not easy. It becomes problematic when a betting provider based in another EU country and without a German gaming license offers sports betting. According to German law, this would not be allowed. However, the European Union is opposed to the State Treaty and believes that every service provider should be allowed to do its work freely within the European borders. Anything else would contradict internal freedom within the European Union . Providers from other EU countries therefore do not have German gaming licenses, but their activities on the German gaming market may not be legally pursued. You are operating in a legal gray area.

Reform of the State Treaty on Gambling

In order to eliminate precisely these confusions and the legal gray areas, the State Treaty on Gaming should be reformed again in 2016 . In the course of this, the duration of the already existing 20 sports betting concessions should be extended to 2021. In addition, 35 providers who had already applied for a license and had not received a license despite fulfilling the minimum requirements had received a preliminary permit to accept sports betting .

But here, too, the state government of Schleswig-Holstein gave out again because online gambling such as B. Casino and poker games were excluded from this new regulation. The reform of the State Treaty was therefore not materialize and so also the area of sports betting will remain part of a market that is not fully regulated by law. This situation will remain for the foreseeable future, because an agreement does not seem to be in sight at first.

Are sports betting now legal in Germany?

Ultimately, sports betting customers do not have to worry about crossing legal boundaries – sports betting is legal in Germany. Nevertheless, legal gray areas are rather disadvantageous for the bettor: Settling a possible legal dispute with a bookmaker abroad can be difficult, for example. For this reason, it is generally advisable to use a betting site with a German license in order to be able to resolve any legal disputes quickly. Since the selection of betting sites based in Germany is very large and there are many attractive new customer or betting bonus offers waiting, this restriction is not a real disadvantage for friends of sports betting.

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