iGaming Approved in Germany’s Largest State

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Germany’s online gambling market continues to slowly develop. In North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), there is a draft law that was issued exactly one month ago by the state government and deals with the topic of online gambling. According to a report by media outlet DPA, the new law is now coming into force and gives online casinos almost free rein.

iGaming in Germany Takes a Step Forward

Following the approval of the bill last Thursday, a maximum of five concessions may be distributed to different providers in NRW. The bill was approved by the CDU and FDP political parties. Two other parties, SPD and Greens, were against it and a fifth, AfD, didn’t vote either way.

Critics complain that the new law does not sufficiently take into account the protection of minors and also runs counter to addiction prevention. However, NRW Interior Minister Herbert Reu, and CDU party member, disagrees.

The law had been given a nod of approval by the EU Commission and contains a number of measures to protect vulnerable players and prevent excessive gambling, as well as the participation of minors. When a player first signs up on the site, they must set a monthly deposit limit for themselves (no more than €1,000). If the player decides to increase this self-imposed limit, the change will only take effect after seven days, while a request to lower the limit will be accepted immediately.

Building on the Fourth State Treaty

The new law has become possible because, in July 2021, the new State Treaty on Gambling came into force in Germany and included some relaxation. However, the federal states have room for maneuver and could still enforce bans.

The State Treaty on Gambling promises to fundamentally change advertising and affiliate marketing in the industry. Sports betting may not only be advertised during a competition, like in the UK, where there is a whistle-to-whistle ban. Advertising for online casinos, slot machines, and poker may not be shown between 6 AM and 9 PM.

In NRW, it is argued that it is a matter of sufficiently managing existing demand and preventing an illegal market. In this way, manipulation can also be curbed and the players protected. However, the Greens and SPD are also calling for bonuses and online discounts, as well as advertising for online gambling, to be banned.

The law for online gambling includes roulette, blackjack, and baccarat. Exceptions are online poker and one-armed bandits. The law also includes a tax that applies to the gross player income. The concessions for online casinos are now to be awarded transparently for a period of 10 years. Also, online gambling should only be open to people who have their residence in NRW.

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