Germans have a love for gambling, exhibited by the fact that they are one of the largest gambling markets in the world. That’s why it is baffling that Germany has such restrictive laws regarding online casinos and other gambling sites.

Presently, online gambling in almost every form is banned in Germany, and those methods that are legal under the law are not available because the government hasn’t seen fit to issue licenses. These restrictions haven’t stopped Germans from gambling online and playing the games they love. Read our guide to German online casinos to learn how you can legally enjoy slots, blackjack, roulette, and other casino games.

Famous German Online Gamblers

Several of the top German poker players got their start playing poker online and some such as Fedor Holz continue to play online on a regular basis. Players such as Dominik Nitsche, Christoph Vogelsang, and even 2011 WSOP Main Event Champion Pius Heinz all started playing online and went on to become superstars in the live game.

Learn more about Germany’s online gambling laws, the types of online gambling sites available and how to stay safe while gambling online.

German Online Gambling Laws

Online gambling in Germany is subject to the Interstate Treaty on Gambling (IGT) that was passed in October 2011. Under the IGT, 20 sportsbooks were allowed to apply for licenses, but the law explicitly bans online casinos and online poker rooms.

Presently, the only forms of online gambling permitted under German law are sports betting (with licensed providers), online horse betting and online lottery sales. Online poker is not allowed in Germany because courts have ruled poker as a game of chance and not skill. As such, it’s only available in live casinos.

Schleswig-Holstein passed the Gaming Reform Act (GRA) in 2011 and from January 2012 to February 2013 issued 48 licenses for online casino and online sports betting operations. However, the parliament decided to repeal the law in part due to conflicting with the Interstate Treaty. Since February 2013, Schleswig-Holstein has acceded to the Interstate Treaty.

Online gambling in Germany is a sticky subject because presently there are no licensed bodies permitted to offer sports betting, horse betting or online lottery. As such, online gambling is still illegal.

However, the Courts of Justice of the European Union issued an unusual ruling in 2016 stating that German authorities are not permitted to penalize or restrict international online betting sites, even if they do not hold a German license.

What this means is that while online gambling is technically illegal in Germany, the government cannot legally prosecute you for gambling online.

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Online Gambling Sites in Germany

As a result of the unusual legal climate existing in Germany, numerous online casino sites take bets from German citizens. They include many of the top names in the industry such as 888 Casino, William Hill, Betway Mobile Casino, All Slots Casino and many more.

Players have access to a wide variety of online casino games, including slots, Blackjack, Roulette, Video Poker, Baccarat, and even Live Casino games. Some sites also offer games such as Bingo, Keno, and scratch card games.

Online Poker Sites in Germany

Like online casino sites, numerous international online poker sites accept bets from Germany. PokerStars is the World’s Largest Poker Sites with the largest player pool. Partypoker and 888 Poker are the other two major players in the online poker industry and are a fantastic alternative to PokerStars. Other major poker sites accessible from Germany include Winamax, Sky Poker, Bet365 Poker, BetOnline Poker and 32 Red Poker.

While Texas Hold’em is the most popular form of poker globally, Pot Limit Omaha is king in Europe. You will find plenty of action in both games along with a variety of mixed games action. If you love poker tournaments, you will find plenty of options to take a single buy-in and score a massive payday.

Sports Betting Sites in Germany

Germans love betting on sports, and there are plenty of options to bet on your favorite games. While a majority of sports betting action online is on Football, punters love to bet on a wide variety of sports, including Cricket, Aussie Rules Football, basketball, hockey and more.

Popular sports betting sites in German include Betway, Mybet, William Hill, 888 Sports, and Unibet. Players have a wide variety of betting options, ranging from betting on individual games to betting on season and tournament winners and even individual bets such as how many goals will Germany score during the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

How to Make a Deposit on German Online Casino Sites

There are numerous options you can use to fund your online casino, online poker or sports betting accounts from Germany. The most commonly used option for gambling sites is credit cards. Most places accept both Visa, MasterCard, and prepaid credit cards.

If you prefer to pay using an eWallet, then you’ll have plenty of options. The Sofort Payment Network will allow you to deposit on 400 various gambling sites online. Another option is eKonto, presently accepted by about 100 different online casinos including 888Casino and William Hill.

Click2Pay is another solid payment option, accepted by nearly 900 online gambling sites. Close to 800 online casino sites accept ClickandBuy.

Outside of credit cards, NETELLER and Skrill are the two most popular deposit options for German players. The majority of online gambling sites accept both eWallets and Germans prefer this option due to the speed and convenience. Note that if you use these options for deposit, some online casinos may disqualify you from any promotional offers linked to that deposit. Check the sites deposit terms and conditions for more information.

The last option for making your initial deposit is by using your bank account. Most sites offer you the ability to initiate a wire transfer or deposit and e-check. Some will even let you mail a physical check for a deposit. Note that depositing via your bank account may incur delays before you can access your funds.

When you’re ready to cash out from an online casino, the process is quick and easy. Most sites will require you use your deposit account to cash out. If that’s not possible, then there are other alternatives, typically a bank draft.

Most sites have a 24 to 48 hour processing time on withdrawals, and all sites will require that you verify your identity before cashing out for the first time. It’s wise to take care of the verification process well before you need to cash out.

Depending on which method you use to cash out, you will typically have your funds within 48 hours after processing. Some methods like bank drafts may take as long as 5 to 7 banking days.

How to Avoid Getting Scammed

It’s no secret that there have been numerous online poker and online casino sites that have scammed players out of millions. Luckily, there are plenty of reputable places to play. All you need to know is how to spot them.

Firstly, avoid all online gambling, online poker and sports betting sites that are not licensed by a significant and reputable licensing body. The premier online gambling regulator is the UK Gambling Commission. The Gambling Commission regulates both online and brick and mortar casinos in the United Kingdom. Any site that is licensed by the UKGC has gone through extensive checks and is heavily regulated. These are among the safest places in the world to play.

The Gibraltar Licensing Authority is probably the second most prestigious licensing authority globally. Several major online operators including William Hill, Ladbrokes, Betfair and 888 Casino all are licensed in Gibraltar.

The Gambling Supervision Commission in the Isle of Man has been issuing live and online casino licenses since 1962, and there are over 100 license holders presently. Several top gaming companies hold permits through the Isle of Man, including The Stars Group (PokerStars), Paddy Power Holdings, Microgaming, Luxbet and Cozy Gaming.

In addition to licensing, check to see whether the site is authorized by any of the major independent testing authorities. The premier testing authority is eCOGRA. They act as both an online regulator and independent testing authority to many of the world’s top online gambling sites.

A site must go through extensive testing and monitoring to get the eCOGRA seal of approval. Other major testing authorities include Gaming Laboratories International (GLI), Gaming Associates (GA) and Technical Systems Testing (TST).

Ideally, you want to play at sites that have both been licensed and authorized by a major testing site. If your site lacks theses, then it is not safe to play there.

Play Online With a Reputable German Online Casino

While it is true that online gambling is presently illegal in Germany, Germans can still gamble online without fear of prosecution. The key is to pick a reputable gambling site. When you choose a licensed and regulated online gambling site, your gaming remains secure, and your deposited funds stay safe.

There’s no real timetable on when or even if Germany will update their antiquated online gambling laws. In the meantime, you can still gamble on your favorite games online and show German lawmakers that online gambling can be safe secure, and an excellent source of tax revenue if they choose to license and regulate it.