GlüStV 2021 – What German Players Think About It

Michael Schumann
June 30, 2021

In March 2020, the 16 federal states of Germany unanimously decided to adopt the fourth Interstate Treaty on Gambling (GlüStV 2021), scheduled to come into effect on July 1st, 2021. The new legislation lays out the framework for the regulation and licensing regime of sports betting, virtual slots, online poker, and online casino games.

As stated by the GlüStV 2021, the new regulations were adopted for the following reasons

  • To prevent gaming addiction and promote gambling control
  • To provide an attractive online gambling market that will help to channel players to licensed operators
  • To protect minors and provide absolute player protection
  • To protect players from fraudulent activity and to prevent gambling-related crime
  • To protect the integrity of sports competitions

The regulations on virtual slots will be highly restrictive in terms of the amount of money a player will be permitted to bet and features that contribute to the excitement of the games.

Virtual slot machines will no longer be referred to as “casino” games and may only be offered separately from other casino and table games.

  • €1 stake limit
  • Minimum 5 seconds between spins
  • No autoplay feature or jackpots
  • Players can play only one game at a time

Regulations regarding online casinos and live casino games are a little less clear at this point in time. According to the new guidelines of the GlüStV, live casino games will remain banned, meaning that bettors will not have access to live broadcasts of any games from land-based casinos or gaming arcades.

However, online casino games like blackjack, roulette, and baccarat will be subject to individual state laws and policies. Under the new legislation, players will also be limited to playing only one virtual slot machine at any given time. This rule is in place to support the treaty’s objectives but ultimately hinders the competitiveness of the German market.

Players accustomed to playing multiple slot machines may feel unfulfilled by the new gaming structure, posing the same problem with online poker players. The imposed regulations could potentially lead players to choose operators in the unlicensed or unregulated market with many available online options.

Why most German players prefer to play at illegal casinos?

A recent poll conducted by indicated that almost 58% of German players would prefer to play at casinos without a German license to avoid gamble online without such restrictions. On the other hand, 42% of Germans indicated a limit €1 per spin betting maximum as a reason for playing at an online casino without a German license. Considering the fact that most of the slots are developed in a way that the larger the bet placed higher is the possibility to win, it can be understood why 42% object to the €1 limit.

The monthly deposit limit € 1000 cross-domain, was named as a red flag as well. Moreover, players regarded such a low limit as unfair. To sum it up, 65% of all interviewees are unhappy with the regulation due to, mainly, strict limits.

Why some players chose to stay at regulated casinos?

On the other hand, there are those who regard GlüStV as tolerable. There were those who actually liked what the new regulation was about to bring to the table. Namely, a feeling of security comes with the fact that the online casino you are playing holds a license by a regulatory body from your homeland. Thus, obtaining similar protection as, for example, players from the UK who are guarded by similar local gaming commissions.

Interestingly, which if you ask me is far debatable, there were players who stated that the new regulation will have no effect on their playing habits, due to the fact that they rarely deposit more than €1000 per month. A similar claim was made €1 per spin betting limit.

GlüStV 2021 is live – What now?

It is clear that there are players on both sides of GlüStV. What stays as a fact is that regulations are very strict and even more, there is no regulation in the world that has imposed such strict rules on the industry.

Will the restrictions have a major effect on the way the Germans play? Without a doubt! How it will affect German playing habits? The logical answer would be they will do as the poll suggested – shift to playing with casinos without a German license. Furthermore, this is what happened in UK and Sweden when similar local regulations were enrolled.

One way or another, the new regulation will come into the effect by the 1st of July. To the players which are okay with regulation, I wish you good luck. As for the ones looking to play without limits and restrictions, I urge you to think about selecting casinos carefully.

Author Michael Schumann

Michael Schumann here, originally from Germany, Berlin. Graduated from California International Business School in 2017. Researched iGaming industry regulations both in the EU and the US. Worked as a researcher-publisher with the big online publications; Business Insider, Gamblinginsider, IGB, Sportbild etc. With up to up to 7 years of experience under the belt and the new German Interstate Treaty on Gambling (GlüStV 2021) on the way decided to shift my focus on the homeland.