Germany is among the countries that rank high in the “who gambles the most” lists, even though their regulatory framework was messy until recently. A country well-known for its restrictive policy towards gambling; finally managed to bring its 16 federal states into terms and agree upon the Interstate Treaty that came into effect on July 1, 2021 and affects the top German casinos.
Seasoned online gamblers might be familiar with the Schleswig-Holstein ‘mutiny,’ the state that took advantage of its autonomous status and somehow kept online gambling within the margins of legality in Germany. The sites that applied for this type of license will continue to enjoy its perks until 2024, yet all German online casinos should comply with the new rules of the ‘Glücksspielstaatsvertrag 2021’ (Interstate Treaty of 2021). However, no matter the regulatory framework, German players will continue to play online, so we should give them the chance to select top online casinos from our list below.
The following list consists of the best German online casinos. You won’t find only the locally licensed ones or those that conform to the local regulation, but also international sites that accept German players. Take a look and discover the exclusive offers, weekly promos and bonus codes of our top-rated casinos.
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So, let’s take a closer look at the criteria we took into account in order to form the above list with the best online casinos Germany has to offer. We consider a casino suitable for German players only if they satisfy the following points, which we have distinguished as the most critical aspects of a decent casino site.
As far as local regulation is concerned, sports betting sites could apply to the Regional Council of Darmstadt for obtaining a license that would be valid for the whole country. On the other hand, casino operators had only the option of Schleswig – Holstein, the only state where online gambling was legal until 2021. From now on, only virtual slot games licenses are available and are issued by the gambling authority of Saxony-Anhalt. However, when the authority announced the first 35 domestic and foreign operators that were whitelisted on Oct 21, 2021, none of those 35 had been granted a license as a ‘casino.de’.
So, at the moment, you can only register at international casinos that accept German players and hold other licenses from the MGA, the UKGC or Curacao. These casinos (mostly the MGA-licensed) are either in the process of obtaining the local license and until then operate with the Malta certificate, or they don’t intend to be regulated and continue to offer their services with a grey-market approach (mostly Curacao casinos).
The majority of online German casinos offer a generous welcome package (i.e. 2-deposit packages up to €300 plus 150 free spins) for newcomers along with loyalty promotions for players that stay with the brand for the long term. In addition, in some German casinos, a no deposit bonus comes as an extra gift for players that register for the first time. In Germany, they come in the form of free spins no deposit bonus (e.g. 20 no deposit spins) and less often in free cash (it’s more used on sports betting sites). Free rounds are more frequent; so, if you are looking for free spins no deposit, Germany has many online casinos featuring this type of promotion.
Assuming that your primary concern is safe and fast transactions in a top online casino, Germany offers you a wide variety of payment options. You can benefit from local and international instant banking methods like Klarna, Giropay and Trustly, or use e-wallets like Skrill, Neteller and ecoPayz. If you choose to register at a Curacao casino, the option of cryptocurrencies opens as well. It seems improbable to be burdened with any extra charges by local banks in Germany and withdrawal times are usually fast. Within 3 business days you can expect to receive your requested withdrawal.
Who doesn’t prefer to browse in their mother tongue? Fortunately, German language is widespread in the online casino industry, as numerous sites support it. Moreover, many of the best German online casinos, which we included in the list above, offer customer support services in German, most usually by live chat or email and less frequently by phone line.
After a long period (2012-2021) of total chaos, during which only sports betting and horse racing operators had a clear image of how to conduct their businesses in Germany, in March 2020, the Interstate Treaty on Gambling was finally approved by the German Parliament (Bundestag).
The regulation story of German online casinos goes back to 2008. It includes a rebellious federal state that took its way and the ‘mother-EU’ that tried too hard to put Germany into a sense to avoid monopolizing the market.
It all started with the first Treaty of 2008, which banned most gambling forms in the country. While 15 out of the 16 federal states of Germany agreed upon that, Schleswig-Holstein took the highway and legislated in favour of its merit. The state issued 23 online licenses between 2008 and 2013, before the EU decided it was time for action. Don’t get us wrong here; privatization of the field was music to the ears of the EU. However, it wasn’t for Germany that had already monopolized the online lotteries and was looking forward to doing the same with the online casino market. The official reason stated for this intention, was -of course- that they ‘only wanted to protect players from gambling addiction’, but we all know how it goes, right?
To cut a long story short, Schleswig-Holstein was bullied into accepting the amendment of 2012, but even so, they renewed in secret the 23 licenses of online casinos in Germany that they had issued. The German government became furious, but they couldn’t do anything. The EU Top Court decided in 2016 that both international operators and players cannot be penalized or restricted since Germany didn’t follow the EU guidelines and made it literally impossible for operators to acquire a national license.
The weird period between 2016 and 2021 was all about illegal online casinos in Germany, yet nobody could take action against it. This ended in March 2020 when all the states found common ground and put the wheels into motion for the fourth Interstate Treaty on Gambling that was implemented on July, 1 2021. Since then, gambling is perfectly legal in Germany, but because we talk about one of the strictest jurisdictions in the world, there are still several restrictions that players will have to put up with. The important thing, though, is that German online casinos are finally EU-compliant.
The new legislation came with certain obligations for both operators and players. They certainly weren’t pretty, and in fact, they have created a sense of resentment in the online gambling community, which will be called to make a decision between locally licensed and international casinos.
The following are the most significant changes that were brought by the new Interstate Treaty to the German online gambling landscape.
Account registration & monthly deposit limit:
First of all, player protection becomes the ultimate priority. When you register to a German casino online for the first time, you will be asked to sign up using your IBAN account number, either directly by your bank or with the help of an intermediate online banking services provider such as Giropay. This is to ensure that you are of age (18 is the age limit in Germany). In addition, you will be asked to set a monthly deposit limit that can be up to €1,000. You can opt for raising it later, but only after 7 days of processing the demand by the casino.
Product limitations are pretty visible. As soon as the new regulatory framework came into effect, virtual slot machines and video poker became the only gambling products allowed in Germany. Table games of any form (i.e. virtual-RNG tables, live casino tables) are excluded from any licensed site. Lottery games like Keno or Bingo are also banned since they belong to the state monopoly of online lottery. What about progressive jackpots? Well, if you haven’t guessed it by now, they are gone too.
Betting and gaming limitations:
Playing at the best German online casinos comes with specific gaming rules. For instance, you can bet only up to €1 per spin on slots, cannot activate the autoplay function and also have to wait at least 5 seconds between each spin. Keep also in mind that you cannot visit multiple casino sites at the same time; otherwise, you will be banned.
Taxation on winnings:
On top of the cake, the German Parliament voted in favour of a stake tax that will introduce a 5.3% cut on all online poker and slots bets. This ‘turnover tax’ didn’t ring well with the opposition parties and experienced executives in the industry.
The restrictions even stretch to the advertising field. Sports betting and casino services can’t be combined under the same domain and no cross-selling is allowed. During the transition period, ads were completely banned and after July 2021, there are certain red lines that advertising companies shouldn’t cross. For example, between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m., ads for virtual slots, online poker and online casino games in general, are prohibited via broadcasting (tv/radio) or online. Best thing ever? The word ‘casino’ has been banned when promoting German casino sites, which means that a lot of operators had to become creative regarding their names if they wanted to remain in the market. Interested operators received just a two-week early notice to implement the new guidelines.
So, if you aren’t willing to go through all these limitations that the new Treaty brought about, you can always select to play at the top international online casinos in Germany. If you are willing to place your money at an offshore casino, then forget all of the above regulations. At offshore casinos all types of games are available, there are no product exclusions and they even support the German language on their websites. They often offer customer services in German, too. No limitations are placed regarding your deposits or bets and, of course, you aren’t faced with any taxation on your winnings.
German casino sites offer numerous payment options to fund your account; however, in the last few years, the German market was shaken by some events regarding payment processors. First, there was PayPal’s withdrawal from the German market in 2019. The popular e-wallet decided to stop supporting online casino payments since the legal status of those services was in question. Then a year later, German authorities banned credit cards. This decision resulted in the restriction of payments via Visa and Mastercard. Some operators went even further and totally removed the two companies from their banking options list. After the transition period between March 2020 and July 2021 ended, Visa and Mastercard debit cards have been restored in the majority of the sites.
What other options are there for the German players though? In such a large market and economy in general, it is only normal that local methods have an edge over the international ones. Klarna (you will see it with its former name -Sofort- in some casinos) is usually the go-to payment for Germans. Klarna is an online banking service that guarantees fast and secure transactions with the extra benefit that you don’t need to create an account with them. Another local option that you can trust is Giropay. While Klarna started in Sweden and then transcended to Germany, Giropay is a purely German business. This instant banking method is perfect for placing a deposit; however, you won’t be able to use it as a withdrawal method. Apart from Klarna and Giropay, you can also turn to Trustly, direct bank transfers or e-wallets like Skrill, MuchBetter and Neteller.
As we already mentioned, the legal framework of online casinos in Germany was only recently regulated, in the summer of 2021. The change is massive, as the German government focused its efforts to diminish illegal gambling as much as possible. Will they succeed though? In fact, important people of the industry oppose the strict guidelines of the Interstate Treaty and support that the outcome of the new legislation will be different than what the German government expects. The Secretary General of the European Gaming and Betting Association, Maarten Haijer, vividly criticized the new gaming rules. In his view, the wagering and time limits, as well as the exclusion of specific products from the best online casinos in Germany, will turn players to grey-approach operators who aren’t imposed to the same limitations.
Is this necessarily bad for you as a player? Sure, scam and rogue casinos will be all over the place trying to take advantage of the situation and attract players that don’t want to put up with the new measures. Still, if you stick with trusted international brands like the ones we feature in our list with the top online casinos in Germany, you can avoid being scammed and secure a safe environment for your gaming sessions.
Gambling and, specifically, online casinos in Germany have been legal and fully regulated since July 1, 2021; after a long period of uncertainty and negotiation between the states, the federal government and the European Union.
It is the new German gambling law that came into effect on July, 1 2021. This new Interstate Treaty came to clarify the cloudy situation of Germany’s online gambling market.
Since July 1, 2021, the gambling authority of the Saxony-Anhalt state has been responsible for issuing online gambling licenses, which are accepted nationwide.
All the German states have agreed upon allowing the offering of online casino services. The license obtained by Saxony-Anhalt is considered nationwide; so, the residence isn’t a factor for playing in a German casino.
Unfortunately, yes. The German parliament approved a controversial 5.3% rate on all online poker and virtual slot stakes. The rate is considered very high compared to other European countries.
The German-licensed online casinos that follow the new guidelines cannot directly advertise promotions, especially to people that aren’t considered ‘existing gamblers’. Players can claim bonuses only up to €100 according to the new statute. However, if you register at international sites, you can claim their best casino bonuses without limitations.
Yes, the German mobile casinos are available on your smartphone or tablet for seamless mobile gaming. In some casinos, you can even download a dedicated mobile app and play on Android and iOS devices.
You have to be at least 18 years old in order to be allowed to register and play with real money at a German online casino.