Divided On Decision To Ban And Prosecute Online Gambling In Germany


Seven national states in Germany declared that they sought to carry on to indict banned casinos online as well as their payment providers including Bremen, Brandenburg, Baden-Württemberg, Hamburg, Lower Saxony, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, and Saarland.

“It is incomprehensible why it is assumed that providers who do not comply with applicable law today should automatically receive a permit with the 2021 State Treaty on Gaming.”

– Lower Saxony

Bremen says “There is no reason for toleration because it is illegal online gambling (judi online) offers that entail a high risk of addiction.” The other federal states have not yet clearly positioned themselves or refer to ongoing negotiations.

No plan for implementation yet

The limit on tolerating the practice is unclear. In particular, the question of how enforcement against unauthorized online gambling should continue to be possible if some unauthorized offers are tolerated but others should continue to be dealt with.

Ulrich Battis, an expert on constitutional law with a focus on public law, said to the NDR :

“The federal states have signed a contract, the State Treaty on Gambling, which is valid until it expires, is terminated or is changed. I think it is questionable to break this contract unilaterally, but it is understandable from a pragmatic point of view, “

— Ulrich Battis, an expert on constitutional law with a focus on public law

The federal states act on the principle of opportunity. That means that it is ultimately up to individual state authorities to decide whether they act or not. Tolerance does not make the offer legal, however.

Possible precedent

A first payment service provider is already relying on the planned toleration. The NDR has bank documents from a gambling addict, showing that he made dozens of payments to an online casino not licensed in Germany in just a few days using the Klarna transfer service. In total, the man paid several tens of thousands of euros and lost the money at virtual roulette tables.

When asked why Klarna had carried out the transactions to a casino that was banned in Germany, a spokesman said, “that the first federal states will already tolerate online casino games with a view to the upcoming new regulation of the State Treaty on Gambling in the coming year and therefore hardly do so fundamentally as may be viewed as illegal “.

Service provider expects execution to be suspended

When asked, the company writes that it is expected that “due to the expected changes in law, enforcement will be suspended”. Klarna continues to write in the wording: “On the side, it should only be noted that we cannot understand why the authority in Lower Saxony, contrary to other authorities, contradicts the market opening (…) decided by all prime ministers (!) By trying to prevent the services that will be legal next year. “