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Update on the Regulation of the Online Poker Industry in Germany

To strengthen the regulation of the online poker industry in Germany, the government released the newest legislation on online gambling to take effect on October 15, 2020. If you are a professional or recreational player or an operator, the changes will surely affect you.

This post reviews the changes introduced, how it affects the operators and their reactions, as well as the effects on players.

What are the Changes?

The new regulations placed some playing constraints on the players and the operators. The lenient implementation of the rule or “transitional tolerance” starts on October 15, 2020, while a full execution is set to begin in July 2021. Here is a list of the guidelines.

  • Rigid Table and deposit restrictions;
  • Altering of the seating arrangement;
  • Tougher Know Your Customer (KYC) conditions.

The new rules are a test run of the law to see how the players and operators comply.

How does the new Rule affects German Online Poker Players?

The regulations commenced as slated, and here is how it affects the players.

Players must play four tables simultaneously and cannot pick a table or seat they like. Also, they cannot deposit more than 1,000 Euros each month in their playing account. Other effects include being able to use the “panic button” to suspend playing for one day. To meet the KYC requirements, players must provide extra verification with utility bills or verify their identity using a webcam.

A few poker operators had implemented table laws for non-multi-table competitions before this rule came into effect. Likewise, some sites had actively implemented the restriction on picking a seat. These recent restrictions on the amount to pay and firmer table constraints in an already delicate playing environment is unjustifiable and might drive professional players out of Germany.

Additionally, the German tax laws that are also unfavorable may cause professional players to go to countries where they might pay less tax. Recreational players must adjust playing limits as required by the regulations since they cannot move to another country.

How are the Operators reacting to the Changes?

The operators were surprised by the announcement of the guideline because the time for its commencement was short. As no operator wants to lose their license by noncompliance, they are studying the changes, and most of them are ready to comply before the regulator starts executing the law in July 2021.

A few operators hinted that they might transfer their players to a ring-fenced pool, while German players may be transferred to German clients that meet the new rules. Here are few reactions to the legislation below.

  • Ladbrokes, Redbet, and Betfair are alleged to have left the German market though that claim is unverified.
  • Partypoker is believed to have a plan to transfer players to other operators that meet the requirements. It plans to offer game tickets to professional players to spur them into completing their KYC before the cutoff date.
  • 888 poker might transfer gamers to a known German client on November 2. It has updated its FAQs with the new information for players and hinted that it would release additional payment methods.

As the law is yet to commence fully, monitoring compliance of operators and players to the rules will guide its complete application next year. But as things stand, it might be challenging to monitor a gamer since they can play the four tables in different poker operators’ sites concurrently.

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