Germany’s New Gambling Legislation Approved

Germany’s proposed new gambling laws moved one-step closer to being implemented this week after the state parliaments in Schleswig-Holstein and Sachsen ratified them. This means that 13 of Germany’s 16 federal states have now ratified the Glücksspielneuregulierungstaatsvertrag (GlüNeuRStV). 

This is highly significant as Article 3 of the legislations states that it must be approved by at least 13 states to be implemented. Sachsen-Anhalt, which will host a new federal regulator, is yet to approve it, as are Nordrhein-Westfalen and Saarland. However, it has been ratified by the state Minister-Presidents.

In Saschen, where the legislation passed despite some opposition, the new regulatory authority is likely to take two years to become fully operational. While the legislation was being debated, the operator association Deutscher Sportwettenverband (DSWV) attempted to force changes to the tax rate that will be applied to online slots and poker.

DSWV argued that the tax rate was so high that regulated brands will struggle to generate returns, which ultimately benefits offshore operators. A 5.3% turnover tax is being considered, and the DSWV called on the parliament to only approve the legislation with a fairer tax structure. It recommended that a turnover tax should be no higher than 1% and that a better system would be a gross revenue tax of between 15% and 20%. However, ultimately, its efforts failed and the legislation passed unchanged.

In Schleswig Holstein the state’s interior minister, Sabine Sütterlin-Waack, has praised the new framework, in particular its focus on responsible gambling.

Sabine Sütterlin-Waack Schleswig Holstein Interior Minister

I am sure that through the trifecta of partial legalisation of online gambling, strict monitoring and consistent regulation, we will succeed. Together with the other states we can steer gambling into orderly and monitored channels and thus fight the black market.

Sabine Sütterlin-WaackSchleswig Holstein Interior Minister

Under the new laws, bets on slots will be limited to €1 per spin and they must have an average spin speed of five seconds while table games must be offered separately.

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