New law shakes online poker in Germany

In case you don’t know yet, the poker market in Germany has been turned upside down by the introduction of a new law. In this case, that means that the rules for playing online poker have become even stricter since mid-October 2020. And many players in neighboring countries will not be particularly happy about that.

International poker brands have also responded immediately. Below I will discuss with you what will change for German poker players. I myself hope that the damage will be limited, because that rules are set is of course very good, but it is made very difficult for both the player and the provider.

What will change for German poker players?

Because the rules were already tough in the gambling market in Germany. For example, poker sites cannot apply for a license there at the moment, but as long as players report the income to the tax authorities, they can at least “just” play poker; it is indeed tolerated. To change things in the near future, a new law has already been created with the beautiful scrabble-like name Glücksspielneuregulierungsstaatsvertrag. The first lines of that are already known and they are quite remarkable. So:

As a player, you can bet on a maximum of 4 tables at the same time.
You can deposit a maximum of € 1000 per month into your account.
Should poker brands add a so-called panic button, with which players can exclude themselves from participation in games of chance for 24 hours.
As a player you can no longer choose a place at the table.

Online poker websites will not be actively fined for failing to adhere to the above rules, but they are intended to abide by them.

How do online poker websites react?

That seems to be working reasonably well for the time being, despite the fact that they do not receive direct fines for it. However, the lack of a financial fine is compensated by the German authorities in another way: applying for a license will be jeopardized if they do not comply with the rules. From mid-2021, online poker should be officially allowed in Germany and so many websites do not want to throw in their own glasses so shortly before the new market situation. After all, with Germany we are talking about the most important EU country with the highest number of inhabitants.

For providers such as Ladbrokes, Redbet and Betfair, this has been a reason to (temporarily or otherwise) stop playing online poker in Germany. Other websites such as PokerStars, GGNetwork, Unibet Poker and 888poker have already adjusted their offerings in order to comply with the new laws.

More rules in the making?

I think the rules are fairly strict (for example the limit of €1000 per month), but that does not mean that it can become even more strict in the coming months. For example, a national database is already being developed in which providers must keep track of their day-to-day operations. Administrative evidence must ensure that players do indeed deposit a maximum of €1000 per month. It is not exactly made easy for players and providers and I am very curious how this will go. Because there are already a lot of German poker players who play on foreign websites. I therefore hope that the German authorities will not themselves throw in their own glasses with all the rules.