Gambling has been a favourite pastime with most Germans. Today, several casinos spread throughout the country. Some of the popular gambling games in Germany include casinos, sports betting, slots machines, and lotteries. Gambling laws in the country are somehow complex and have undergone several changes over the years. Germany prohibits online gambling and betting except horse racing.
Gambling in Germany is pretty complicated because of the weak regulations, players being subjected different laws, and the existence of two laws- the domestic law (The German Interstate Treaty) and the Glückspeilgesetz. Initially, gambling was mainly unregulated before signing of the Interstate Treaty on Gambling (ISTG). 15 of the 16 German federal states signed the treaty. In 2012 the new leadership of the only remaining state, Schleswig-Holstein, announced its intention of signing the agreement. However, since it had already issued several licenses, 23 of which were for online casinos, it found it difficult to revoke the licenses which are still running until 2018.
In 2010, the European Court of Justice ruled that the gambling laws in Germany were in violations of EU competition laws. The country, in 2012, made some concession and amended the treaty, making provisions for 20 national licenses to be issued to operators to offer online sports betting. The amendments included removal of internet block on casinos.
This state of affairs has seen many foreign-based websites taking advantage of the opportunity. Plenty of these offshore casinos accept German players and even offer casino platforms in the German language. Given the fact that Germany has the highest per capita gambling spending than any European country, it is unsurprising that many Europeans operators, mainly from the UK, cater to this market.
Technically, it is legal to visit any casino website and even open an account. It is, however, illegal to place an online bet. Most players ignore this law. So far, no one has been convicted for playing online gambling because the authorities are more concern with the legal disputes with European Commission.