Why does Germany place so many restrictions on Online Gambling?

Over the past several years, Germany has become more open to innovative remote identity verification methods within the online gambling sector. These are welcome developments, and IDnow actively supports operators to meet their Know Your Customer (KYC) obligations with seamless and secure options.

Protecting minors from adult media content and adult entertainment has always been a top priority in Germany through the Protection of Young Persons Act (Jugendschutzgesetz – JuSchG) and the German Interstate Treaty on Gambling (ISTG), the latest being the ISTG 2021 effective July 1, 2021.

Licensing requirements for online gambling operators in Germany are stringent. For example, advertisements for online gambling offerings are allowed, but with specific restrictions. In particular, advertising cannot be aimed towards minors; they cannot be presented as a way to solve financial problems, and there are strict limitations that ban broadcasting, or online advertising between 9 am and 6 pm when minors might be exposed. This is where strict identity verification requirements (Age Verification or AV) of players kick in to help protect minors from accessing such content and entering online gambling platforms.

Convenient solutions

Some operators have gone about enforcing AV requirements by following treaty guidelines, whereas other operators have chosen not to follow regulatory requirements and offer simple AV methods where the player picks games according to age and plays accordingly. Other operators have chosen to simply not offer certain adult games in strictly regulated markets like Germany. The solutions are simple, and service providers like IDnow are able to offer products that are compliant and easy to use.

To date, identity verification requirements for gambling operators fall under the German Anti-Money Laundering Act (AML Act) as well as the Interstate Gambling Treaty. The guidelines on “permissible” remote AV methods come from the Kommission für Jugendmedienschutz (KJM), the Commission for the Protection of Minors. The KJM permits online gambling operators a choice of innovative remote methods legally by evaluating whether such systems meet technical and security requirements. Once a method has been evaluated to “satisfactorily” perform an AV, an operator is able to select the appropriate service. The remote method should enable the player’s ID document to be validated and must perform a comparison of the user’s biometric data.

IDnow, which began offering remote identity verification according to the strictest regulatory requirements under German AML law, was one of the first remote identity providers to receive a positive evaluation for both its VideoIdent and AutoIdent products to meet AV requirements securely. Document verification is a combination of checks being performed, which includes Optical Character Recognition (OCR) check of the Machine-Readable Zone (MRZ -the two lines at the bottom of the passport), with Selfie Comparison + Liveness Detection (selfie of the player). Read more: Online Gambling regulation in DACH – an overview

All players entering an online gambling site must be age verified and operators who choose to use remote KYC methods ought to ensure they have been evaluated and approved by the KJM, such as IDnow product solutions which are available 24/7. Some of the biggest operators in the gambling world rely on compliant AV methods accepted in Germany to kick in responsible gambling. One of the biggest concerns that have come up for operators time and time again is the ability to offer a seamless user experience from verifying and onboarding players without any friction while ensuring that safe and responsible players are converted into regular customers. A top priority is to create a safe space for players and operators. IDnow is committed to helping operators maintain legal AV requirements and ensure high conversion rates.



Roger Redfearn-Tyrzyk is Director Global Gambling & Sales UK at IDnow.

Roger Redfearn-Tyrzyk
Director Global Gambling & Sales UK at IDnow
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