Remote gambling

Types

Is remote gambling permitted and, if so, what types?

Remote gambling is generally not permitted in Germany. At the moment there are only exemptions and licence options for lotteries and sports betting including mobile gambling. Remote gambling in the form of online poker and online casino games is not allowed (except existing or valid online casino licences in Schleswig-Holstein).

Licensing

What are the criteria for obtaining a licence to operate remote gambling?

The criteria for obtaining a licence to operate remote gambling depend on the kind of gambling and the regulation of the particular 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.

How do the licensing criteria for remote gambling operators differ from those applicable to land-based operators?

The licensing criteria for remote gambling operators differ from those applicable to land-based operators insofar as additional or adapted concepts have to be provided in the licensing process. Operators have to provide adapted social, youth protection, security and payment concepts taking into account the specific requirements of remote gambling.

At the moment, the number of licences for sports betting operators is limited to 20, but the legislator is working on removing the quota system from 1 January 2020. Lotteries with high jackpots are operated under a state monopoly, but the licences for private intermediaries are unlimited. Licences for social lotteries are also unlimited.

Cross-border gambling

May operators located in other countries offer internet gambling to consumers in your jurisdiction without obtaining a licence there?

No, offering gambling services in Germany without a German gambling licence is technically illegal. The German gambling regulation does not allow offering gambling services in Germany with just an EU or even offshore gambling licence. As an exception, at least the 35 sports betting operators that have been found to fulfil the requirements to receive a German sports betting concession are permitted to operate in Germany as long as the licensing procedure is on hold and as long as they comply with the licensing requirements.

May operators licensed in your jurisdiction offer internet gambling to consumers in other countries?

Operators licensed in Germany may offer internet gambling to consumers in other countries if the law of the other country allows. The German gambling regulation only applies to gambling in Germany.

Taxes

What tax rate applies to each form of remote gambling?

For remote sports betting, a federal sports betting tax is levied at 5 per cent.

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

German value-added tax applies at a rate of 19 per cent on online casino operations in Germany (with live casino services as an exception).