Germany is the largest economy in Europe. In 2021, Germany was ranked the 20th richest country in the world. Germans are known for their passion for football. Statistics show that most sports bets made by Germans are on football. Of course, there are other popular sports in Germany, including ice hockey, boxing, motorsports, etc. The gambling industry in the country is flourishing, and figures come to prove this. In 2019, 35% of the population participated in some form of gambling activity at least once.
Although Germany is a developed country with cut-and-dried laws, gambling is a topic that evokes mixed feelings among legislators. What adds to the complexity of the legal status of gambling is that Germany has 16 federal states, and each of them is allowed to regulate or prohibit gambling and sports betting activities within its borders.
Best Sports Betting Sites in Germany
Since July 2021, foreign operators can apply for German licenses and legally offer their services in this country. The gambling regulator responsible for issuing licenses to eligible operators is die Glücksspielbehörde (GGL). At the moment of writing, there are over 30 operators that have obtained a local license to operate on German soil.
Best Sports Betting Bonuses in Germany
An important factor for the success of a given online sportsbook is the bonuses it offers. Unfortunately, Germany is one of those countries that imposed restrictions on the sports betting bonuses punters can benefit from. Licensed operators are allowed to offer a bonus of a maximum of €100 per year.
Besides, operators are no longer allowed to offer bonuses to inactive sports fans. German punters should keep in mind that all sports betting bonuses come with terms and conditions that vary between betting sites.
Match Deposit Bonus
Most licensed sportsbooks that accept punters from Germany offer match deposit bonuses to new registrants. Punters are required to make a qualifying deposit to claim a match deposit bonus. A common Welcome Bonus available to sports fans from Germany is a 100% match deposit up to €100.
Punters must wager the bonus funds (and possibly the deposit) a specific number of times to clear the playthrough requirement. Another crucial bonus requirement is the odds restriction that prevents punters from wagering on heavy favorites with bonus money.
Free bets are another type of promotion available to German punters. This promotion allows bettors to wager on a sporting event without any risk. If the bet wins, they will collect the profit from the wager. However, punters will never be able to cash out a free bet. Given that your bet settles as a loss, you will not lose even a cent of your money.
Some online sportsbooks aimed at German sports fans offer risk-free bets. Unlike free bets, risk-free bets require punters to make a real-money wager. If the bet settles as a loss, the sportsbook will refund the amount of the wager. Usually, the refund comes in site credits.
Acca insurance is a popular bonus that is offered at many German-friendly sportsbooks. As you know, accumulator bets combine multiple selections into a single wager. All selections must win in order for the accumulator bet to settle as a win. Many punters place accumulator bets to increase the odds and maximize their winnings. But if one selection loses, the whole accumulator bet will be lost.
That is a bit unfair, and that is why many bookmakers offer Acca insurance. If you lose an accumulator bet by a single selection, the bookmaker offers a refund in the form of a free bet. However, accumulator bets must consist of a specific number of selections (usually four or more) to qualify for Acca insurance. Besides, each sportsbook states minimum odds requirements for the Acca insurance promotion.
Online sportsbooks geared toward the German market often offer boosted odds on certain markets. Bookmakers deliberately enhance the odds of specific betting markets, allowing punters to collect a bigger potential payout for the same amount of risk.
Betting Regulation in Germany
For years, the legality of gambling and betting in Germany was a subject of heated debates. Although the situation in the country has been quite complicated for years, the iGaming market has never stopped flourishing. The fact that all 16 federal states have the right to come up with their own gambling and betting laws further complicates the legal landscape of Germany’s gambling sector.
Initially, the states strongly opposed the idea of allowing casino gambling. German lawmakers introduced the Interstate Gambling Treaty, which banned all forms of online gambling except sports betting and horse racing. However, only state-owned gambling establishments were allowed to accept bets on sports and horse races. In other words, the country established a monopoly on online sports betting. The Interstate Gambling Treaty was ratified by all 16 states and entered into force on 1st January 2008.
But Germany is a member of the European Union, which does not tolerate gambling monopolies within its member states. In 2010, the European Court of Justice ruled that Germany runs an unlawful monopoly on sports betting.
Changes to the Interstate Treaty
Changes to the Treaty were introduced in December 2011, allowing foreign operators to apply for German licenses and offer their services on German soil. Under the provisions, a maximum of 20 foreign bookmakers could receive licenses. The amended version of the Interstate Treaty was signed by all states except Schleswig-Holstein and came into force on 1st July 2012.
Schleswig-Holstein, on the other hand, passed the so-called Gambling Act in September 2014, under which an unlimited number of licenses could be awarded to foreign casino operators and bookmakers. The state issued 23 online casino licenses and 25 sports betting licenses. But in 2012, Schleswig-Holstein signed the Treaty after a new state government was elected. However, operators who have already obtained licenses could continue offering their services until their permissions expire. Later, operators’ licenses were extended until June 2021.
In 2015, legislators introduced new changes to the Treaty. In January 2020, some of the provisions of the updated version of the Treaty came into effect. The maximum limit on the number of licenses was removed, and the Regional Council in Darmstadt was tasked with issuing licenses to foreign bookmakers.
In July 2021, the new Interstate Treaty came into force to legalize online gambling in Germany. Besides, the Treaty imposed strict limits to prevent punters from gambling problems. Under the new Interstate Treaty, a new regulatory body called Gemeinsamen Glücksspielbehörde der Länder (GGL) was established to oversee the industry and award licenses to operators.
Important Sports Betting Restrictions
The new regulations, however, put licensed operators in a disadvantageous position compared to offshore operators due to the numerous restrictions. Under the new rules, operators must have a registered office in the EU or EEA to be eligible for a license. Besides, licensed operators must have a German version of their websites. One of the most criticized restrictions is the monthly deposit limit of €1,000 per player across all operators.
Moreover, bookies are allowed to offer live betting on match winner markets and total goals scored only. Bookmakers cannot accept bets on the irregular behavior of an athlete. The new Interstate Treaty also limits the maximum amount of bonus money to €100 per punter per year. German bettors are not allowed to have multiple accounts, too. Industry experts believe that the restrictions will encourage sports fans to use the services of offshore sportsbooks.
The minimum legal age for gambling and sports betting in Germany is 18. Underage individuals are not allowed to participate in gambling activities. Licensed operators are required to conduct KYC procedures to ensure that their registrants are of legal gambling age. A crucial thing to mention is that German punters are required to pay a tax of 5% of the stake wagered.
What payment methods can I use to add funds to my sports betting account?
At the moment of writing, there are not many sportsbooks licensed to operate in Germany. However, punters who join a licensed betting site can rest assured that their funds are safe. Reputable sportsbooks geared toward the German market support reliable payment solutions, including but not limited to Visa, Mastercard, Skrill, Neteller, ecoPayz, PayPal, Klarna, Sofort, and Giropay.
Who regulates gambling and sports betting in Germany?
Gemeinsamen Glücksspielbehörde der Länder (GGL) is the newly created regulatory authority that replaced Saxony-Anhalt State Administration Office. The GGL is tasked with overseeing the gambling industry in Germany and issuing licenses. It was created through Germany’s new Interstate Treaty on Gambling.
Can punters from Germany benefit from sports bonuses?
Yes, sports fans residing in Germany can take advantage of various sports betting bonuses, including match deposit bonuses, free bets, risk-free bets, Acca insurance, enhanced odds, and cashback offers. But according to recently introduced restrictions, bookmakers are not allowed to offer bonuses exceeding €100 per punter per year.
How can I be sure that a given sportsbook is safe?
Several factors speak volumes about the reliability of a given sportsbook. First, punters should always check the license of a sportsbook. Only betting sites that carry the stamp of approval from the GGL are authorized to operate on German soil. Besides, a safe betting site uses SSL encryption to safeguard punters’ sensitive data. Before joining a betting site, sports fans must ensure that it provides lines for the sports they wish to wager on.
What odds formats do German-friendly sportsbooks offer?
Most online sportsbooks offer different odds formats, with the most common being decimal, fractional, and American. However, decimal odds are the most preferred by German punters. This type of odds represents the amount punters will potentially win for every €1 wagered. German-friendly betting sites allow punters to change the odds format according to their preferences.