What limits come with the new State Treaty on Gambling in mid-2021?
What limits come with the new State Treaty on Gambling in mid-2021?
The limits in the new State Treaty on Gaming, which will apply from mid-2021, are currently being hotly debated. But what exactly can casino visitors expect? It now seems to be fairly clear in which direction the new gambling regulation will develop. In the end, the limits may not be as problematic as they seemed at first. A major criticism of the new State Treaty on gaming was that the federal states had agreed to implement a deposit limit of EUR 1,000 from the start. There are several levels of criticism of this limit. A major problem could arise from the fact that this limit should apply across all gaming providers. However, this can only be implemented if a central database records all payments made to all providers in real time. For data protection reasons alone, it would be difficult to implement such a database. But many experts considered the rigid deposit limit of 1,000 euros per month to be even more problematic.
No uniform deposit limit for all customers?
For many gambling fans, this limit is too low. There are high rollers who can and want to turn over significantly higher amounts per month. So why restrict these high rollers and thus drive them into the black market? But now it is becoming apparent that there might be a reasonable compromise that could at least give high rollers the opportunity to play in casinos with a German license in the future. What should this compromise look like? For sports betting, it has already been decided that there will be no fixed deposit limit of 1,000 euros for all customers. Rather, there will be a basic deposit limit, which is 1000 euros. But customers have the option of increasing the deposit limit in an individual process. In a first step, the limit can be increased to 10,000 euros. To do this, however, the customer must prove that he has the appropriate financial resources, for example with a current tax return. It is also planned that the increased limit of 10,000 euros per month must be checked annually by the providers.
The limit of 10,000 euros can be used by any customer who can provide the relevant evidence. In addition, it is planned that a maximum of one percent of customers may use a limit of 30,000 euros. In this case, too, appropriate evidence of financial resources is required. With the extension of the limit for wealthy customers, an important point of criticism has been defused. It remains to be seen whether this rule will also apply to online casinos. But it would be a good thing if the rigid limit of 1,000 euros didn’t apply to all customers. Otherwise it would be inevitable that casino customers who want to and can bet a lot of money will move outside of the German regulation. If the regulation with three different limits of 1,000 euros, 10,000 euros and 30,000 euros is also implemented in online casinos, that would be good news for casino operators and high rollers. In addition, it could well be that an individual stake limit for the high rollers will also be decided. This limit would then have to be agreed in consultation with the casino operator. Sports betting stipulates that a maximum of 20 percent of the monthly limit can be used for a bet. Whether this limit is really necessary when there is already a monthly limit is of course open to discussion. But at least there seems to be a consensus among the responsible politicians that it would not make sense to limit all casino customers to a maximum deposit of 1,000 euros per month.
No advertising allowed for higher limits
Sports betting providers are not allowed to advertise that higher limits are possible. Probably the online casinos will not have an option to place a notice on the website about the higher limits. This is a bit inconsistent, because if an examination takes place anyway, every customer should also know that it is possible to increase the limit. Those players who generally play with large amounts will know very quickly that it is possible to introduce higher limits. At this point, a paternalistic approach is pursued once again, which denies the gambling fans to a certain extent that they can decide for themselves. But in the end it should be decisive that it is even possible to reach higher limits for deposits. The question about the limits could be exciting in online poker. Especially for the semi-professional and professional players, a limit of 30,000 euros per month is probably far too low. The high rollers in poker often turn over significantly more per month. In this respect, Germany may no longer be a good country for poker professionals who want to play online at the highest limits. But as long as the official rules are not in place, there is at least a little bit of hope that online poker may still have higher limits for individual players. That would make sense anyway, because why should Germany drive poker professionals out of the country? The poker professionals who play in Germany also have to live and pay taxes in Germany. So it makes sense to keep this clientele in the country, especially since player protection may not be the decisive issue at this point.
After the first statements about the limits in the State Treaty on Gambling sounded much more drastic than the current reports, there is hope that a bit of pragmatism has returned to the considerations. Perhaps there will actually be sensible regulation of online gambling in Germany. It is currently unknown what the situation is with the 1 euro bet limit. It is reasonable to assume that this betting limit will apply to players who are given a deposit limit of EUR 1,000 per month. If the sports betting regulation is also implemented for casino games, it could well be that the betting limit will be significantly higher for players with higher budgets. How this is implemented by casino operators in practice is a completely different question. The technical and content adjustments for the German market could become significant if a very complex differentiation between the customers had to take place. But that is a solvable problem, especially since the German gaming market is expected to weigh more than 5 billion euros in the next few years. In this respect, there is a high level of motivation for the gaming providers to implement the desired adjustments for the new German gaming regulation. In any case, it will be exciting to see how the new regulation will be adopted by gambling providers over the next few months. How customers will react to the new requirements can only be assessed from the middle of next year. The new rules will apply from July 1, 2021.
Transitional arrangements could become a problem
The transitional regulation that has been decided by the federal states to bridge the time until the introduction of the new gambling regulation provides that a deposit limit of 1,000 euros must be adhered to. In addition, the casinos must limit the stake per game to 1 euro. Another important point: Blackjack and Roulette must be removed from the offer. It is questionable whether it is really possible to implement the transitional arrangement on a broad front. Basically, gaming providers who want a license for the German market have the right to implement the new regulation as quickly as possible. The most important prerequisite for this, however, should be that the new regulation has been adopted at all. So far, the new German State Treaty on Gaming has not yet been ratified by any of the federal states. In this respect, at least formally, it is not at all certain that the new gambling regulation will come at all. Most experts assume that ratification is only a matter of form. But whether this will really be the case remains to be seen in practice.
Another important point, which is already hotly debated in the transitional arrangement, is the competitive disadvantage for companies that adhere to the requirements. All companies that submit to the transitional regulation have a fundamental disadvantage compared to providers who do not observe these new rules. However, the German federal states would like to refuse a license in future to gaming providers who do not comply with the transitional regulation. It remains to be seen whether this is really practicable and feasible. The transitional regulation is to apply from mid-October and then be replaced by the new gaming regulation on July 1, 2021. In any case, a lot will change for German casino fans in the next few months. The large gaming providers will in all probability observe the transitional regulation. Therefore it can happen, for example, that in the future many online casinos in Germany will no longer offer blackjack and roulette. It is also becoming more difficult for high rollers to find suitable providers. It is not known whether the casinos may also allow higher limits for individual customers as part of the transitional regulation. Extensive discussions are currently taking place between the gaming industry and the responsible bodies. It is to be hoped that the functioning gaming market will not be permanently damaged in the next few months. This is an important prerequisite for the new German gaming regulation to be a success at all from mid-2021.