Online Betting Sites & Laws: Germany

Last Updated: April 12, 2021

Online Gambling GermanyGambling in Germany has long been legal and online betting in the country is no different. There are a number of great providers to choose from and the laws are quite relaxed.

In fact our two highest rated online bookmakers are happy to accept German players and both score 5 out of 5 star review ratings – as you’ll see in the comparison table below.

Check out our list of the best betting sites for Germany below, along with the bonuses offered to new customers and under that we’ve got a run through of the key laws and legislation’s which affect the countries residents.

Key Facts: Online Gambling In Germany

  • Gambling is legal in Germany and has been for a long time.
  • Online betting (sports) and lotteries are fully legal.
  • EU have ruled that Germany can not legally restrict use of foreign gambling sites.
  • Players have a wide range of providers to choose from without legal implications.
  • Must be 18+ to gamble legally.

Best Germany Betting Sites: Top 5

The following is a list of the best betting sites for residents of Germany:

  1. Bet365
  2. Betvictor
  3. 888Sport
  4. Unibet
Up to €100 in bet credits
T&C’s apply – 18+.
100% up to €150
For new customers only. Sign up for the offer. Deposit at least € 10 within 7 days of opening a new account. You receive a 100% bonus up to € 150 for sports betting, which must be wagered 5 times before winnings can be paid out. The bonus expires after 30 days if it is not used or implemented. This offer is only available on a mobile phone. Geographic restrictions apply. Please play responsibly. T&C’s apply – 18+.
100% up to €200
T&C’s apply – 18+.
100% up to €100
T&C’s apply – 18+.

Gambling Legislation & Law Timeline

Traditionally gambling in Germany has been seen as an issue to be regulated and managed at a state level. The main federal legislation has only been passed in recent years in response to online betting and gaming. The following timeline traces the development of that legislation:

Traditional State Legislation

Gambling in Germany was long viewed to be an issue solely within the realm of state level management and regulation. Germany’s individual federal states, therefore, all have different pieces of legislation related to different gambling activities, their legality and the issuing of licences.

2008 – The Interstate Treaty on Gambling

It was in 2008 that the German government first introduced their Interstate Treaty on Gambling with the initial support of all states apart from Schleswig-Holstein. The treaty essentially made all forms of online gambling illegal apart from those sports and horse racing betting services offered by state-sponsored providers. The treaty was immediately challenged from many directions and the government was forced to amend it in 2012.

January 2012-February 2013 – The Gaming Act of Schleswig-Holstein

The state of Schleswig-Holstein did not sign the Interstate Treaty in 2008 and in January 2012 passed their own Gaming Act. The act allowed for the issuance of licences for private sports betting and online casino operators and in the 13 months of its existence, a total of 48 licences were granted.

July 2012 – Amended Interstate Treaty on Gambling

As mentioned above, the German government were forced to amend their Interstate Treaty and the changes came into force in July 2012. Those changes meant that online casinos were still banned but that online lotteries and a limited number of online sportsbooks could be licensed to operate legally. There has been a notable reluctance from the German government, however, to actually grant these licences.

February 2013 – Schleswig-Holstein Accedes to the Interstate Treaty

A change of state government in February 2013 led to the state of Schleswig-Holstein repealing their gaming act and signing the Interstate Treaty. Whilst they would no longer issue licences, however, those already provided within the state were not rescinded and remain valid until 2018.

2016 – Court of Justice of the European Union Ruling

Earlier this very year, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that Germany’s Interstate Treaty violated European law by strengthening a state monopoly over the gambling industry. The ruling means that German authorities are not permitted to penalise or to restrict the activity of foreign based online gambling sites, even if they are unlicensed in Germany.

Are Players Taxed On Winnings?

Gambling TaxTaxation of the gambling industry tends to differ greatly from state to state in Germany, due to the different legislation introduced by the individual state authorities. There is, however, a 5% federal tax on stakes placed on horse races or sporting events through the state sponsored betting providers.

When it comes to gambling with unlicensed overseas based providers, though, the situation is confused at best. Even if it were concluded that tax does apply to winnings in that situation, there is no real mechanism by which German authorities could claim that tax.

Recommended Deposit Methods

Deposit OptionsNo German punter has ever been – or will ever be – punished for betting or gambling online, no matter what provider they use. Since the 2016 ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union, furthermore, German authorities are not allowed to restrict payments to foreign based gambling sites.

As such, there is no reason that German punters should consider legality when it comes to which deposit method they prefer. The full range of options offered by different sites are available, therefore, and in that case the simple and speedy method that is depositing by debit or credit card is usually preferred or Klarna for direct transfers.