Gambling law in Germany — update 2014

Last year — 2013 — was a considerably less eventful year for German gambling law than 2012, which saw significant reforms within the industry.

In January 2012, Schleswig-Holstein passed a liberal gambling law that enabled online operators to apply for licences for most games of chance, including sports bets, poker and casino games. The other 15 German federal states, however, passed the reformed Interstate Treaty on Gambling 2012 (ISTG). Although the ISTG enabled online operators to accept sports wagers and liberalised the German gambling industry (in particular with respect to lotteries) to a certain extent, it also maintained the state monopoly for games of chance and the general ban on online gambling as set out under the previous legislation.

Schleswig-Holstein withdrew its gambling law in January 2013 (after it had granted about 50 licences to online operators) and joined the ISTG, which is now the only applicable gambling law in Germany. However, those licences already granted under Schleswig-Holstein’s gambling law remain valid for a period of six years. In other words, about 50 online operators may still lawfully offer gambling services despite the prohibition under the ISTG…

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