Land-based gambling


What types of land-based gambling are permitted in your jurisdiction, and is gambling regulated at a national or subnational level?

Gambling in Germany is regulated at the federal and state levels. The main regulation is the GlueStV, which is currently in force in all 16 German states. In addition, there is a state gambling law in each state regulating the local licensing regime and the state’s gambling authorities. In some states there is also a casino act. At the federal level, there are, inter alia, the AML Act, the Race Betting and Lotteries Act and the Gambling Regulation.

Land-based gambling is permitted in Germany in the form of casinos, amusement halls, lotteries and betting shops. Casinos are operated by the state or with (very limited) concessions by private entities. Amusement halls are run by individuals or private companies. Lotteries with high jackpots are operated as a state monopoly. Private entities may sell the lottery tickets in lottery shops or as intermediaries by mail or online. Social or charity lotteries may be organised by private (charity) entities. Betting shops for horse or sports betting may also be licensed for individuals or private companies.

Establishment licensing

Please describe the licensing criteria to operate land-based gambling of each type or classification. Does your jurisdiction limit the number of available licences?

The licensing criteria to operate land-based gambling and the number of available licences depend on the kind of gambling and on the regulation of the respective German state. The main licensing criteria are:

  • reliability and economic capability of the organiser;
  • protection of minors; and
  • a sufficient social plan including measures to prevent addiction.

While casino licences are very limited (only a handful in each state), lottery and sports betting shops are limited to several hundred in each state. For amusement halls there are minimum distance regulations that provide an additional limit on the number of venues.

Director, officer and owner licensing

Must individual directors, officers or owners of licensees also be licensed or reviewed for suitability?

Licences are granted for the organisation or intermediation of gambling services. Licence holders may be individuals or legal entities. The individuals or the authorised representatives of the legal entities need to be reliable. This is usually checked in the licensing procedure using certificates of good conduct and the central register of trade and industrial offences. The appointment of a new authorised representative needs to be notified to the licensing authority in order to carry out a new reliability check. The individual directors, officers or owners of licensees need not be licensed.


May a gambling location be part of a resort, restaurant or other multi-purpose location? What limitations apply?

This depends on the kind of gambling and the respective state law. While lottery shops may be part of a supermarket or shopping centre, casinos are usually separate buildings. Sports betting shops are not allowed in buildings with casinos or amusement halls. Amusement halls must not fall short of certain minimum distances to other amusement halls and may not be in spatial proximity to facilities that are mostly visited by minors.

Passive/institutional ownership

Are there provisions for passive or institutional ownership that allow for exemption or modification of licensing requirements?

As there is no licensing requirement for the owners of a licensee, there are also no provisions for passive or institutional ownership that allow for exemption or modification of licensing requirements.

Responsible gambling

What responsible gambling obligations apply to licensees?

Responsible gambling obligations to be complied with by licence holders include youth protection and the protection of persons that are at risk of gambling addiction. There are barring systems in place for amusement halls, sports betting and some lotteries.


What type of tax and what tax rate applies to each form of lawful land-based gambling activity?

For sports betting, a federal sports betting tax is levied at 5 per cent. The taxable base is either the face value of the betting slips or the stake. Recently, some German cities have started collecting an additional sports betting tax, an example amount being 3 per cent.

Lotteries are subject to a tax of 20 per cent of the nominal value of all lottery tickets (excluding the tax).

Taxes for casinos and amusement halls are regulated on a state or even regional level.