The popularity of web-based casinos continues to increase since they pose as a rather convenient option for players around the world to roll the dice or bet without leaving their homes. Germany is not an exception but matters are a bit more complicated there. Unfortunately, the country has a long history of being among the most strict EU member states when online gambling is concerned.
Web-based gambling operations of all kinds were officially prohibited by law in 2008 by the Interstate Treaty on Gambling or ISTG– all forms of online gambling with the exception of horse race wagers and other sports bettings were declared illegal on the 1st of January the same year. The German gambling industry was monopolised but at the request of the European Gambling and Betting Commission some positive changes took place – online casino operators can request and obtain a license in order to legally provide online gambling services.
Even though legislation concerning online gambling activities was amended and operators were able to apply for a permit from the state of Schleswig-Holstein (where such web operations are allowed) and function legally, rules remain strict to this day as their activity is closely monitored and violators are severely penalised. The state of Schleswig-Holstein issued its own rules regarding gambling activities on the web and provided licenses to over 50 operators allowing them to legally offer their services for the next 6 years.
These complexities and strict regulations, however, do not prevent German players from seeking excitement, placing bets or spinning the slots online. Sadly, many online casino operators have terminated their relations with players from Germany because of the confusion ensuing from the country’s gambling regulations.
Gambling Regulations in Germany
It’s not quite clear whether online gambling is legal or illegal in the country as it all depends on which one of the 16 German states the players reside in as each state has its own regulations, responsibilities and rules. Confusion results from the fact there are two opposing regimes in Germany when online gambling is concerned. Online casino operators that have obtained a license from the Schleswig-Holstein state are allowed to provide their services until 2018 when their licenses expire. The rest of the operators, on the other hand, should comply with regulations imposed by the ISTG (Interstate Treaty on Gambling) which do not apply in the state of Scheswig-Holstein.
Apart from the state of Scheswig-Holstein with its separate rules and licenses, each of the 16 states is responsible for regulating different aspects of the gambling industry in Germany. National lotteries are under the supervision of the Rhineland Palatinate, while the City of Hamburg oversees class lotteries. Municipalities regulate slot machines activities in their respective cities and the Ministries of the Interior in the Federal Republic control brick and mortar casinos in the country.
This incoherence is not only confusing to players and online casino operators alike but could also lead to unlawfulness. Even the Federal Supreme Court recognises the threat such incoherent regulations pose.
Playtech casinos begin their withdrawal from the German market
Web-based gambling operators powered by Playtech – a high-profile online gaming software developer, have started to withdraw from the German online casino market. Of coarse, it’s easy to see where this decision results from and what’s worse, Playtech-powered casinos are not the only ones – other popular providers of software are about to follow their example. Among those who decided to withdraw from the German market due to the heavy and confusing regulations are Casino.com, Slot Heavens, Mansion Casino and Club777 – these operators closed their German players’ registrations as of February 1st, 2015 and are currently unavailable in the country. Players, however, are still allowed to enter these online casinos to participate in games for fun without depositing any money.
Playtech’s withdrawal may also be explained by the solid fines imposed on players who partake in online gambling activities. The case of a 25-year old German player who was fined and ordered with a court decision to repay his winnings of €63,490 serves as a good example. Since then some Playtech-powered operators have restricted German players playing for real money. The good news is that these restrictions do not apply to German-language players from other countries – this decision is valid only for players residing in Germany.
Finding Legitimate Casinos
Despite the complicated situation in Germany, there are still some adequate options for players in the country, allowing them to enjoy some quality gambling experience on the web as they are able to register and make an account at online casinos that accept international players. Once German players sign up with one of those gambling operators, they’re obliged to make a deposit and are then eligible to receive bonus awards and play for the jackpots the casino offers.
However, one should carefully choose their online gaming operator as not all of them are 100% reliable and there’s a chance some are added to the blacklist as illegitimate. It’s advisable to look for operators which are powered by reputable, established and popular software developers like NetEntertainment, Microgaming or Playtech for instance, as these three names have become synonymous with security and quality. If the international online casino you opted for is supplied by one of these three providers of software, there’s a good chance it is reliable and safe to play in.
There are certain things players should be wary of when they register with a web-based gambling operator. As soon as one enters a casino website they should check whether or not it is legitimate. In order to do so, players should go through the page and look for a seal of legitimacy as this is an indicator of whether or not the operator is licensed. Needless to say, one should not register at unlicensed websites providing services of this type as this is a rather risky venture and may lead to unpleasant consequences for the players.
Another good idea would be to check the About Us section of the web-based casino and carefully read the information provided there. This step will help players to better understand the operator’s policies. If the casino is open about their history and policy, this is surely a good sign. What’s more players should try to find information regarding who actually issued the casino’s license. Such information should be openly displayed on the web page. Reading the Terms and Conditions section on the website is also a sensible measure since it will enable one to see the options for depositing money on their accounts and withdrawing winnings in a quick and convenient manner. The time required to withdraw what one has gained should be stated clearly.
Depositing and Withdrawing Money
There are a number of payment methods available for German players who want to take part in the online gambling activities. Online casinos, supplied by Playtech, for instance, offer a variety of methods to deposit or withdraw money to and from one’s account.
Most Playtech casinos accept an impressive number of currencies and as the Euro is the official currency in Germany, players from the country should not experience any trouble in making a deposit or withdrawing their winnings.
Some of the most popular payment options include e-wallets like Skrill and Neteller or payment processors such as Clickandbuy, PayPal and Entropay. A very convenient, quick and secure method to load one’s casino account is to use a prepaid card like those offered by Ukash or PaySafeCard.
Playtech is one of the leading online gambling software developers in the world and as such powers a wide range of games for multiple operators including poker, bingo, scratch and live dealer games as well as fixed-odds arcade games. After 15 years of experience on the market, the company provides praise-worthy quality and service. What’s more convenient to players is the fact that many of the online gambling games Playtech supports can be easily incorporated in a number of existing applications. As all games the developer provides are part of a unified platform, they can be integrated with one another which makes playing them even more convenient.
The company has also developed their own IPoker platform, very popular with poker lovers around the world, which works with a skin-based system with different colour schemes and 30 active skins the players can choose from.
There are many legitimate and secure casinos, powered by Playtech that service international players, including gambling enthusiasts from Germany. Each single one of them stands out with its own innovative interface, that’s easy to navigate through, realistic graphics and sounds and user-friendly customer service. Users can choose between over 500 different casino games, supplied by the software giant and what makes them even more appealing is the fact one can play without leaving their home. Apart from this impressive gaming catalogue, players are attracted by the tempting bonuses and jackpots which many of these Playtech web-based casinos offer.
What’s more, there’s a variety of payment methods for depositing money on one’s account and the majority of them are quick and secure. Withdrawals are also very convenient – depending on the deposit method you’ve chosen withdrawal transactions can be instant in most cases. Playtech-powered casinos accept deposits from e-wallets like Skrill and Neteller, paying processors such as Paypal, Clickandbuy and Citadel Direct (available as a payment method in Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom), debit or credit cards like VISA and Mastercard and prepaid vouchers like PaySafeCard and Ukash.
Bank wire transfers are also accepted but take longer periods of time to process (about 5 business days).
Playtech Casinos that Accept German Players
Eurogrand is one of the casinos available to international players which makes it convenient for Germans as well as they can easily gain access to a wide range of gaming activities offered by the website. This web-based casino is easy to navigate through. Registration is quick and easy to follow. All that’s required to do is to enter the “Getting Started” section where players can create their accounts, make a deposit and play right away.
Eurogrand shares its license with another Gibraltar-based casino on this list – William Hill, a very popular and renowned brand, which is mostly oriented towards European players. There are many tempting bonuses and jackpots Eurogrand has to offer.
Once players download and install the Eurogrand software on their computers, they gain instant access to a comprehensive list of high-quality virtual games like baccarat, poker, Sic Bo, blackjack, Scratchcard, roulette and craps just to name a few. Placing bets on different sports is also available though generally Eurogrand is mostly focused on casino games. Real enthusiasts can easily join live games in real time as well. All in all this web-based casino offers over 90 premium casino games. Spinning the slots is also possible.
A minimal deposit of $10 is required upon signing up in order to join and play these games. Once you’ve made the deposit you’re entitled to 25 free of charge spins on the slots, plus a 100% deposit equal to $100. The casino accepts different currencies so German players can opt for depositing their money in European Euros. In addition there is a highroller bonus of $1000 and 25 free slot spins in exchange for a deposit of $2000 or more.
Players can withdraw up to $9000 of their winnings per month, using an impressive variety of transaction methods including Click2Pay, Clickandbuy, Ukash, Neteller, Skrill, VISA, Maestro.
Yet another established web-based casino which uses the Playtech platform and accepts players from Germany is bet365. This gambling operator has been active for over ten years now but remains popular among players from around the world to this day. There are plenty of valid reasons to explain this.
Most of Bet365’s bunk is supported by Playtech but the online casino is powered by other reputable software developers including NextGen, Microgaming, Net Entertainment and WagerWorks to name a few. Bet365 provides access to a comprehensive Playtech-powered catalogue of premium games ranging from traditional and multi-player blackjack to Aces and Faces, Tens or Better and 2 Way Royal. Other casino games on their list are staples like baccarat, roulette, Red Dog, Pontoon, Sic Bo, craps and poker. Players also have exclusive access to over 250 different slot games, the most popular of which are Iron Man, Funky Fruits and Lucky Panda.
Once customers sign up with the online casino, they receive a welcome bonus of €100. Wagering requirement of 20x are imposed on slot and parlour games. A number of deposit and withdrawal options are available – Paypal, online banking through iDebit, Neteller, Skril, PaySafeCard and the German Internet payment system GiroPay.
An additional advantage of this online casino is that there are no limits to withdrawals.
Casino Tropez is widely thought of as the best web-based casino in Australia, powered by the software developer Playtech. What makes it so appealing is the fact Casino Tropez provides an impressive welcome bonus of $3000 as soon as one registers with the website.
As it accepts international players, Germans are more than welcome to join in and play any game of their choice as soon as they register and fund their accounts. The initial deposit of $100 alone earns players a total of $200 to play with – that’s definitely a good way to start a game! What sets Casino Tropez apart from other web-based gambling operators is the fact it provides a bonus upon second deposits which amounts to 50% of the sum you’ve loaded to your account. There is an Instant Play option as well. Some users find this flash play very convenient as there is no need to download and install any software on their computers.
The games featured on Casino Tropez’ list reach up to 400 in number but each month the site offers new exciting releases. Players can choose between a variety of table, card and arcade games, video poker and slots or observe and participate in real dealer live games like poker, French roulette or blackjack.
To deposit money into their accounts or withdraw winnings, German players can use a number of payment methods – Clickandbuy, Maestro, VISA, Neteller, Entropay, Paypal, GiroPay or regular bank wire transfers are among the most popular.
Bear in mind there is a $9,990 (in the equivalent currencies as well) withdrawal limit per month.
Europa Casino was launched at the beginning of the century and quickly gained popularity among keen players as it provides nice customer service, realistic graphics, a wide range of games powered by Playtech’s platform and appealing bonuses to everyone who registers with their website. Players can take their favourite online casino games everywhere they go as Europa Casino is also available on mobile phones.
As the casino accepts players from around the world, it’s easily accessible to keen German players as well. The website features over 400 different games including 3D Roulette, video poker, blackjack, craps and slots as well as a variety of Asian and arcade games. The choice is yours to make. Upon their first deposit players are entitled to a $2,400 welcome bonus but bear in mind this initial bonus package consists of weekly and monthly instalments. There is a number of other promotional offers and limited-time promotions too.
In case players have any questions they want answered, they can always make use of the Live Chat on the online casino’s website. Europa Casino provides players with different payment options to deposit or withdraw their money. Those most suitable for players from Germany include Entropay, GiroPay, PayPal, Clickandbuy, Maestro, VISA and Ukash.
Monthly withdrawal limit is set to $9,990.
William Hill is among the most successful bookmakers in the UK and went online for the first time in 2002. Many players prefer it over other web-based casinos because William Hill offers quick cash-outs of winnings, good customers support and a variety of interesting table and card games. The casino welcomes all international players to join in the gaming activities and this is applicable to Germans as well. It also uses the Playtech software and is available in Instant Play/flash version and download mode. The software is quick and easy to install. Players can enjoy the games offered by the casino on their iPhones, Blackberries and Androids or watch a live dealer HD stream.
Currently the most popular games on William Hill’s website are the slots based on Marvel Comic books like The Incredible Hulk, Thor and The Fantastic 4. In case you’re looking for more traditional alternatives, you can always enjoy some high-quality blackjack, roulette or join online games with a live dealer in real time.
The casino offers some tempting bonuses and what’s more important if you participate in the game using the Instant Play option you’re liable for bonuses too. An initial deposit of $300 grants players a 100% bonus and upon their second deposit carried within the next 30 days, they receive another bonus equal to 75% of the sum they’ve deposited.
German players who wish to deposit or withdraw money in or from their William Hill accounts can do so using the following payment methods – Maestro or VISA Credit/Debit cards, prepaid Ukash or PaySafecard vouchers, Skrill, Neteller, PayPal, Entropay, Clickandbuy, Click2Pay and more.
Players are allowed to withdraw up to $9000 per month