Active players: 47.000.000
Regulated gambling products: sports betting, horse races, lotteries (all state run), sports betting, poker & casino games licensed at Schleswig Holstein untill 2018
Operator types: state run betting shops, land based casinos, foreign bookmakers & online casinos
Designated authority: Online betting is not regulated (apart from Schleswig Holstein)
Status: No restrictions on foreign bookmakers, local bookmakers not allowed to operate
Germany is the largest economy in the European Union and one of the most successful countries when it comes to football. Its long history in sports wagering means that players love to place their bets on a regular basis, with about 60% of them punting at least once every week. Despite being a liberal society with fertile ground for online betting, in recent years the government has tried to enforce a state run monopoly on wagers. In 2010 this effort was met with staunch opposition from the various German betting sites, both local and foreign, leading to a ruling of The Court of Justice for the European Union, that has allowed German punters to freely bet on any foreign site.
Did you know that…
- No bookmaker holds a license in Germany (besides 23 in Schleswig Holstein)
- German bookies (e.g. Interwetten, Tipbet) based outside of Germany, can freely offer their sportsbooks to local bettors
- All land based betting shops are operated by the state run ODDSET
- Given that online betting is unlicensed, your financial security is not guaranteed when dealing with untrustworthy bookies
- Age restrictions are set by whichever regulatory authority your chosen betting firm is based in (MGA, UKGC etc.)
Top 3 bookmakers in Germany
Concerning offline betting, things are pretty straightforward in Germany, since the state run ODDSET, retains a betting shop monopoly. When it comes to online operators though, no one is completely sure whether certain laws apply. There have been several incidents, such as the 6 year licenses that were issued in 2012 by Schleswig Holstein and Hesse’s decision to downvote the Glücksspielstaatsvertrag (German gambling law). Following The Court of Justice for the European Union intervention in 2010, foreign betting sites in Germany are free to offer whichever gaming product they wish (in accordance with the EU laws), to local punters. By the end of 2018, a new Gambling Law will be put into vote, with the aim of successfully regulating online betting.
German players basically are given two options. They can bet on any of ODDSET’s betting shops or enter www.oddset.de. This option certainly allows for added security, however it does come at the expense of far lower odds and fewer betting markets. The more popular way, is online betting on foreign based betting companies. There are no restrictions placed by the government, either on types of games, or promotions, as any violation would lead to the CJEU intervening once again. Although this means that you can practically bet on any bookmaker in the world, completely tax free, it does come with the added risk of financial insecurity. Your payouts are not guaranteed by a government awarded license, meaning that you should always choose trustworthy operators, regulated in respected authorities.
Germany has a large, wealthy population and is the third largest betting market in the world, making her one of the top destinations for any respected bookmaker. Currently about 80 bookies offer their sportsbook in German, although not a single one is locally based. Tipico, Tipbet and Bwin, are prime examples of German oriented bookmakers operating in foreign soil. However, Asian giants 18bet and British Bet365 are by far the favorite German betting sites, where almost 15% of all bets are placed.
There are no restrictions on how you wish to fund your bookie account or make a withdrawal from the various German betting sites. Bank cards, e-wallets like Skrill & Neteller, wire transfers and even the local Giropay and SOFORT are readily available to any bettor. However, we once again advise you to be extra careful when choosing which betting company to deal with, if you want to be completely safe.
Although the current situation might work to the bettors’ benefit, I remain uncertain about the lawmakers’ motives. Surely, having many betting options among strictly regulated bookmakers is positive, however we have to take a closer look as to why this has happened. The legal structure is non existent as the need to maintain the betting monopoly of ODDSET seems to outweigh the players’ needs. Consequently, the new legislation that will allow foreign operators to obtain betting licences, is not only uncertain to be ratified by the Bundestag, but will also limit the number of gaming halls inside Germany. In my opinion, Germany should look up to Britain’s example and try to intervene only when the players’ safety is at stake.
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