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 until 2021
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 actual restrictions on foreign online bookmakers
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 favouring the local company ODDSET. 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. This period of no “strict” gambling framework will last until 2021.
Bet in Germany – 5 things to know
- No bookmaker holds a license in Germany (besides a few in Schleswig Holstein, like bet365, Betfair, Bet-at-home and Ladbrokes)
- Many land-based betting shops are operated by the state-run ODDSET, with a few other companies retaining a solid position in the market like Tipico and Tipwin
- Minimum legal age to gamble is 18-21 depending on the state you’re residing in
- The experimental phase in the gambling regime has been extended to 2021 and might go even further to 2024
- A 5% tax is imposed on players by the state. Some bookmakers have taken it upon them
Best betting sites in Germany
When it comes to the top bookmakers in Germany, not all are worth your attention. Here’s the criteria we focus on to suggest the very best.
- License: Operating under a reputable authority like the UKGC or MGA, reassures you that you’re playing somewhere safe.
- German version of the website and CS: What we’re looking for is bookies that offer a proper German version of their website and not some cheap auto-translated version, as well as customer support in German.
- Payments popular in Germany: Payments like Paypal, Skrill and Sofort are only supported by reputable EU-licensed betting sites, so we consider that in our ratings too.
- High odds & variety of markets: We’re always suggesting bookies with high odds and a variety of markets, especially for smaller football leagues like 3. Liga, Regionalliga, Oberliga.
- No tax: The last thing we look out for is to suggest bookies that don’t impose the 5% tax on players, but rather take it upon them.
Betting Deutschland: The German Gambling Law Framework
With Germany largely being a “grey” market, it’s important for punters to know the legislation in place to ensure they get a safe and enjoyable betting experience. Here’s the legal framework on both online and offline betting.
Online Betting in Germany
If we want to refer to German gambling sites that are state-licensed per se, the only ones you will find are in Schleswig-Holstein and their licenses do not cover the entire German region. Bet365, Betfair, Bet-at-home and Ladbrokes, among others, have a Schleswig-Holstein license. However, they are only licensed in that state and not the entire country. Due to the transitional phase, the gambling regime in Germany’s going through though, your best bet is to rely on bookies that have acquired trusted international licenses. Also, you shouldn’t assume that just because a site has the .de ending, it’s state-licensed. When it comes to being fined for playing online, that’s not something you need to worry about. That’s not to say that there haven’t been any incidents of players being fined for online betting. However, these are extremely rare. As until recently casino was illegal though, there were some cases involving fines to casino operators. A notable incident was the one involving Guts casino, where a player from Munich was fined for playing, forcing the company to pull away from the region.
Betting exchange Germany – What are your options?
Unfortunately, Betfair does not operate as an exchange in Germany, but only as a traditional sportsbook. Matchbook too, doesn’t accept German punters anymore. So, it seems like 1xBet is playing with no competition as a betting exchange in Germany, despite their limited liquidity. When it comes to Crypto betting exchange, Germans always have 1xbit to resort to.
Betting Companies with Shops in Germany (Wettbüros)
The German land-based betting shop landscape is much more straightforward. Apart from ODDSET which controls a large share of the market, Tipico Germany is big in the region with betting shops in Karlsruhe and Gelsenkirchen among others. Regarding Tipwin, Germany betting shops exist in various locations such as Gelsenkirchen again, although their online product is much better. Tipbet and Bet3000 also run landbased establishments, although Tipbet’s online version is far superior compared to their betting shop in terms of markets and odds. Lately, the state of Hesse has started fast forwarding the licensing process so that the first regulated bookies will be in place in January 2020
Paypal is highly popular in the German region, although not all German betting sites support it. Bookmakers that truly value the German fanbase also offer newly introduced payments in the region like ApplePay, or more traditional ones like Cash2Code, MuchBetter and OnlineUberweisung. Trustly is also picking up a lot in popularity.
There are really 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 are readily available to any bettor. Sofort has also established a solid reputation in the region thanks to the convenience of their instant banking and their transaction speed. As a result, you can safely expect that all the best betting sites in Germany offer it. It’s good to note here that most non-EU licensed bookies don’t offer Skrill or Neteller in Germany. If you want to bet using the above payments, it’s best to check with the live chat to ensure they are indeed offered.
In all honesty, the number of new German betting sites is constantly increasing. And with Germany being such a valued market, you can expect almost all of them to accept German players. However, not everyone’s worth your time and money. We find NeoBet to be among the most promising with a great mobile app and Sofort payments, while Zulabet, on the other hand, offers high odds and around 32,000 events per month. Last, the well-known casino LeoVegas launched their sportsbook in 2016 with a high payout and many special bets.
Although the current situation might work to the bettors’ benefit, we 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. Although the legal structure seems to be rigid, things are looking more positive for international bookmakers. 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 our opinion, Germany should look up to Britain’s example and try to intervene only when the players’ safety is at stake.
Bet on the best German betting sites
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Q: Is bet365 legal in germany / Does bet365 work in Germany?
Yes, Bet365 accepts German players and is also licensed in the state of Schleswig-Holstein.
Q: Is horse betting allowed in Germany?
Horse betting is not only allowed in Germany, but it’s actually one of the most popular sports to bet on, specifically Thoroughbred racing. It’s also heavily broadcasted on TV as well.
Q: Can I bet with a German betting account from abroad?
It depends on the book. You should disclose that you’re going to use a VPN and if they accept it, then it’s ok. If you’ve been playing with a book for a long time, then chances are they probably will.
Q: What documents do I need to verify a German account?
There are two types of documents they will usually ask you, a proof of identity and proof of address. So, You’re going to need your 1) Stromrechnung from any of the major providers like RWE, E.ON, Innogy, Uniper etc, 2) Telefonrechnung from T-mobil or any other provider you’re using, 3) a local phone number and 4) your Ausweis.