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New era for German igaming begins with State Treaty’s implementation

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Today (1 July) marks the launch of the legal online casino market in Germany, with the country’s State Treaty on Gambling (GlüNeuRStv) that was approved by German lawmakers last year.

Operators in the jurisdiction will now be able to offer poker and slot games online. Previously, sports betting was the only form of online gambling permitted in the country.

While table games can be offered, this will either be granted to the state lotteries as a monopoly. In states where the lotteries do not take up the option to offer table games, a number of licences, based on the number of casino licensees, will be issued.

The launch follows the Bundestag voting to approve a bill which set a controversial 5.3% tax on online slot and poker stakes.

Operators have criticised the tax rate, along with other elements of the nation’s online gambling regulation. Germany’s sports betting association, the Deutsche Sportwettenverband (DSWV), argued that the tax rate would “jeopardise the success of the new gambling regulation in Germany.”

Yesterday, the association put out a further statement, calling on the country’s authorities to clamp down on unlicensed brands as the regulations are introduced.

DSWV said the regulation, including policies such as the tax rate on turnover, a €1,000 per month spending cap and a €1 per spin stake cap on slot games, would create unattractive framework conditions for licensed operators.

It therefore called upon the German authorities to clamp down on offshore competitors with rigorous sanctions, in order to deter them from continuing to target customers.

The association said it was concerned that the legislation’s promotion of safe and responsible gambling, which its members also support, could be beneficial to those companies seeking to operate outside the new rules and avoid heavy compliance costs.

Today, compliance and anti-money laundering (AML) service provider Kerberos said the regulation creates legal certainty in the German market, but that the fight against money laundering will need to become more digital and data-based.

The company’s director, Christian Tsambikakis, said that now the GlüNeuRStV has come into effect, “legal and illegal offers can now be clearly separated, and the fight against illegal providers can be carried out much more effectively.”

“This is also urgently necessary,” he continued, “because money laundering prevention [in the unlicensed gaming market] is practically non-existent, especially with illegal gaming providers based in so-called ‘tax havens’.”

Yesterday, prior to the market’s opening, secondary lottery operator Lottoland applied for permission to operate across Germany, where it currently offers its products under a Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) licence.

“We would like to expand our offer in Germany and enable players of legal age to participate responsibly in legal gaming offers under the new framework conditions with German player protection standards,” said Magnus von Zitzewitz, managing director of Lottoland Germany.

However, lottery betting operators have previously come under fire from Germany’s lottery operators, represented by the Deutscher Lotto- und Totoblock (DLTB), which criticised Lottoland when it sought to gain a lottery licence in Germany in 2017.

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