The introduction of new gambling laws and regulations has thrown the online poker world into a state of confusion and disorder. Many online poker operators have been left with no choice but to withdraw temporarily from the market as they find ways to adjust to the new regulations. Others have resolved to leave the German market entirely.
Online gambling has always been a grey area in Germany. For the longest time, German officials tolerated unlicensed poker sites before the creation of the new regulations. However, the government posed heavy taxation on winnings, making high-profile players leave the country. Yet still, nothing was illegal or criminal in the operations.
This, however, is in the past. The German government has decided to take a stricter approach to regulate online poker operators.
The Unveiling of The “Tolerance Policy” Period
On September 10, Germany took a bold step towards attaining a licensed and regulated online gaming industry. The authorities from all 16 states agreed to let the online casinos and poker operators continue with their activities, provided they comply with certain rules. This agreement is known as an Interstate Treaty.
The agreement was not made public until September 30 and is expected to take effect as of October 15. The transitional tolerance expects poker sites to implement specific daily operations changes to get a license. With the short deadline in place, online betting site operators had little time to comply with the requirements. According to news sources, the tolerance policy aims to aid both consumers and operators during the transition period before it becomes law come July 2021. The next nine months will determine the effect of the new regulations on online betting and the future of online gaming and poker in Germany.
What Does the New Regulations Entail?
German authorities have provided requirements that poker sites have to follow to remain operational in the 16 states. The new regulations require the site operators to implement a thorough Know-Your-Customer(KYC) approach to prevent underage gambling. This move is to ensure that consumers provide extra verification to confirm their identities.
In line with the tolerance policy, only four players are allowed to play at a table with no option of choosing the seats or tables. The monthly deposits are also now limited to 1000 euros, and a panic button is provided. Once the button is pressed, the player is banned from gambling for the next 24 hours.
Although the table limits and seating restrictions effectively maintain a healthy ecosystem, deposit limits discourage high-stake players and professionals. High taxes had resulted many pros leave the country for greener pastures. With the new restrictions, it is very likely for the remaining ones to relocate too.
The policy further prohibits poker sites from advertising in the country and calls for the operators to be registered in the European Union. Some other requirements include:
- Multi-lobbying is prohibited
- Withdrawals and deposits are only allowed through a bank account
- Casino games like Roulette and blackjack are banned
- P2P transfers are prohibited
- The site operators are required to provide complete data on payouts and fees
Impact of Transitional Tolerance on Online Betting Providers
The tight deadline of two weeks since the announcement has left operators scrambling to meet the new requirements. Without full adherence to the rules, poker providers risk losing their license to operate in Germany. The recent changes in gambling regulations have impacted the online poker industry in various ways, with some providers opting to leave.
Some operators have responded in the following manner:
Betfair, Ladbrokes, Winamax and Redbet
A poster on TwoplusTwo shows that these online betting providers have entirely left the German market.
PokerStars and Run It Once
These operators have closed their doors on German customers at the moment, but still work to comply with the new changes.
The site’s management has implemented the necessary changes required and is set to continue with its activities. It will also be receiving players from Natural8.
888poker has resolved to comply with the new gambling policies. However, they have promised the consumers better deals and a variety of payment methods.
Germany’s new gambling policies and regulation has left the online betting world more confused than before. With most operators closing their doors to German clients, the consumers are more vulnerable to the black market, with zero responsibility and zero taxes. Hopefully, the transitional tolerance period will hopefully steer the industry in the right direction.