The Simplest Way to Understanding Online Gambling Regulation in Germany

October 21st, 2020
Back The Simplest Way to Understanding Online Gambling Regulation in Germany

As Germany announces a new set of regulations for online slots licensing regime in the country, targeting primarily commercial operators, social responsibility and gambling-related harm reduce, more and more software providers are making significant changes of their business practices to provide customers with the best solution and comply with the newly implemented measures.

Although the new set of rules will formally come into effect in July 2021, the regulator has confirmed a policy of transitional tolerance, after which the relevant licences can be issued. Operators may engage with the German jurisdiction by adopting new regulatory measures stated below, while those that ignore them may be excluded from the pre-scheduled official licensing procedure.

How to Become Compliant

As stated in the official German Toleration Criteria and Compliance Rules on 15 October 2020, online slots sites that want to apply for a license in 2021 must remove all live gaming products, including live dealer roulette and blackjack games. This resolution refers to other variations of similar play types, such as card table games as well as RNG variations and more.

One of the most severe measures is that operators can no longer refer to their site as a 'casino' and this is stricted for land-based operations. Leading software providers with a preference to become socially responsible and compliant with the German Toleration Regime are at this point:

  • Microgaming, whose gaming suite for Germany will include more than 150 titles, adapted exclusively for the customers in the country’s reorganized market; among the releases are Book of Oz (Triple Edge), 9 Masks of Fire (Gameburger), Bonanza (Big Time Gaming)
  • ORYX, who has been serving the German market under the Schleswig-Holstein license for 7 years with content from exclusive partners like Kalamba, Gamomat, RGS, GiveMe, Golden Hero and Peter & Sons
  • SYNOT, announcing that more than 60 games will become available on the market, including top titles such as Respin Joker and Book of Secrets
  • Pariplay, a dynamic and innovative provider who already implemented changes such as no autospin option, no coin display, no jackpots but obligatory win probability display, allowing players to see average payout for a €1 bet

Matevz Mazij, managing director of ORYX Gaming, said about the new regulations:

Compliance, regulation and responsible gambling sits at the center of our core product offering and this is why we are amongst the first suppliers in the German market to have our platform and a sizable proportion of our content fully compliant with the German transition period guidelines. We look forward to using our collected experience and understanding of the German regulation requirements and working together with our partners to help them further outperform in this exciting and growing market.

Among other changes that have been made with the aims of protecting the player include deposit caps of no more than €1,000 per month, per brand. Also, the venue must implement reality check every 60 minutes, as well as a 5-minute cool off period before play can be resumed.

A 'Panic button' now has to be displayed at all times, allowing players to instantly exclude themselves from the casino at any point! Lastly, free-to-play games and demo versions are no longer permitted for German players.

Are Affiliates also Affected?

In order to comply with Germany’s new regulations, affiliates will also have to make a series of changes and adapt their websites accordingly. 

The changes apply to:

  • Affiliates that have a .de domain; and/or
  • Affiliates that promote in German; and/or
  • Affiliates that have specific lists such as DE/German casinos lists

On a side note, German players will only have access to slot games in the future, as live casino, table games and jackpot games are no longer permitted (this list encompasses blackjack, roulette, baccarat and live dealers).

In relation to brands, affiliate content will have to do some serious makeovers since the term “casino” or “kasino” is not allowed under the new regulations. Sites will have to be renamed into “Spielbank” and all the above-mentioned variants will have to be removed.

Likewise, images of blackjack, roulette or any kind of live casino game, including jackpot amounts will not be tolerated after the transitional period. A similar policy refers to “misleading terms and vague wording” such as Qasino, Cesino, C@sino or Cozino, which is completely forbidden.

In conclusion, pre-paid PaySafe Cards will no longer be accepted as a payment method and must be removed as a depositing/withdrawing method. PaySafe wallets on the other hand are still accepted.

How Long Before the New Regulation Comes into Force?

Changes that are happening in Germany must be finalized by the 15 July 2021, which is the exact date when the new regulation will come into force.

However, starting from the 15th of October 2020, there will be a so-called Tolerance Period, during which all interested parties (providers as well as operators) can engage with the market, provided they had adopted the new regulatory measures. It is stated that betting companies who ignore new iGaming regulations in Germany may be excluded from any future licensing indefinitely.

As stated by Leon Thomas, commercial director at Microgaming, who announced full support for Germany’s proposed online gaming regulations on 12 October:

Microgaming is a socially responsible business that broadly supports the regulatory changes in Germany, where we will be providing our customers with a solution that includes some of our most popular and successful titles – long before the new gambling laws coming into force next year.

Endorphina has also joined the growing list of suppliers whose game production will be adapted to the new German regulation. According to CEO, Jan Urbanec, the company is proud of collaborating with operators in the country at an accelerated pace, predicting high-end results in the upcoming period. Both the studio’s legal and development team are working on meeting the German regulation policy to avoid any potential interruption of the player's experience.

By complying with Germany’s new regulations regarding iGaming, Endorphina is also keeping high quality standards of its far-reaching products, which are now available in German, have a minimum 5-second spin and no auto-spin option, but display win probability and RTP are very much shown on screen, as requested by the regulator.

“live casino, table games and jackpot games are no longer permitted”

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