What does the Glücksspielstaatsvertrag (GlüStV) on Gambling regulate?
In Germany, the legal regulation of gambling is a matter of the federal states. However, the Interstate Treaty for Gambling (Glücksspielstaatsvertrag, GlüStV) is intended to make the legislation uniform in the individual federal states. The State Treaty on Gambling is not a binding law, but merely an agreement between the states, while implementation remains the responsibility of the individual state governments.
Since the internet suddenly made gambling and betting easily accessible across state borders, the individual state legislations were no longer sufficient. In 2008, therefore, the first version of the State Treaty on Gambling was adopted. Since it had a limited term and the state premiers could not agree on a renewal, the first treaty already expired again on December 31, 2011. Since then, there have been several amendments, a total of three versions of the so-called State Treaty on Gambling. The third version served as a transitional arrangement while work was done on a new edition of the treaty.
Finally, a new State Treaty on Gaming entered into force on July 1, 2021. Its main purpose is to regulate the opaque online market for gambling in a uniform manner and to curb illegal offerings. Even before the new State Treaty on Gambling, it was possible to use online betting and gambling services in Germany, for example on the basis of EU-wide gambling licenses issued in Malta, among other countries. For consumers, it was often no longer clear what was legal and what was illegal, and also gave rise to unregulated black market operations. The State Treaty on Gaming 2021 creates clearer conditions and encourages players to move away from the black market.
What is the objective of the Glücksspielstaatsvertrag on Gaming?
The State Treaty on Gaming is intended to prevent and combat gambling addiction, to steer the population's natural gambling instincts into orderly and supervised channels, to combat the black market, to ensure youth and player protection through age verification, and to prevent manipulation and maintain integrity in sports.
What changes will the Glücksspielstaatsvertrag bring for gambling providers?
The State Treaty on Gaming 2021 (GlüStV) introduces a new German license for providers of online gambling and sports betting, giving them legal certainty. At the same time, customers are to be better protected and saved from high losses. Gambling addiction is also to be prevented by various measures. For this reason, providers with a gambling license have had to comply with new requirements since 2021.
For one thing, a deposit limit applies to online casinos. Customers may not deposit more than €1,000 per month at gambling platforms. This limit applies across the board to all providers with a German license. When registering, users must also define a self-selected deposit limit. If they subsequently want to change this limit, it only takes effect after a delay of 7 days in order to prevent impulsive deposits.
Another measure to prevent gambling addiction is the introduction of a so-called "panic button." It can be pressed by the customer if he gets the feeling that he is losing control. His account will then be blocked for 24 hours with immediate effect. In addition, the maximum stake for casino games has been limited. For slot machines, the maximum bet per game is €1. A spin must last at least 5 seconds and may not be automated - so the player must make each spin manually. Table games, such as blackjack or roulette, will be prohibited. Similarly, multiple play at different online casinos will be prohibited. And even with a single provider, a user can only play on one slot machine at a time. The providers must also keep users regularly informed about their winnings and losses.
Furthermore, the number of licenses for table games will be limited to the number
of physical locations for casinos in each state.
What do the regulations of the Glücksspielstaatsvertrag mean for gambling and sports betting providers?
Sports betting was already legal before the new 2021 Gambling Act and regulated by the previous versions of the State Treaty on Gambling. What is new for sports betting providers is that they must now also apply for a German gambling license in order to continue to make their offer available online. In addition, active sports professionals are no longer allowed to advertise for sports betting providers.
Basically, every user at online casinos and sports betting providers must create an account and be logged in to play. Anonymous gambling is therefore not possible. A blocking file was created for the protection of minors and blocked players. This centrally stored register is accessible to all gambling providers. When registering new customers, they are obliged to identify and authenticate players and compare them with the blocking file. This is intended to prevent blocked players from re-registering with providers holding a German license.
These identity verification requirements oblige providers to adapt their know-your-customer processes accordingly and implement them in compliance with the GlüStV. Automated identity checks can be used for this purpose. IDnow AutoIdent can be flexibly adapted to the requirements of GlüStV 2021 and ensures simple, legally compliant KYC identification in just a few minutes.
Read more: Online Gambling regulation in DACH – an overview