Online poker: legal or illegal in Germany

Opdateret: 27. juni 2020

Germany is now the second largest poker country in the world after the United States. There are dozens of providers on CasinoSlots in the German market, and thousands of players gather every day to participate in real money tournaments. However, there is always a question: is online poker legal


Content -Why is online poker completely regulated?

-Gambling or skill games?

-German gambling regulations

-Play money vs real money

-Professional or amateur players? Income taxation

-The best online poker site for playing money

-in conclusion


Why fully regulate online poker? Online poker is regulated for the same reasons that sports betting cannot be organized freely: preventing and monitoring the risks of minor participation, gambling addiction, and money laundering.


In a nutshell -According to the "German National Game Treaty", it is fundamentally prohibited to organize public chance games on the Internet

-From July 2012: only lottery and sports betting exceptions are allowed

-Only licensed state-owned casinos are allowed to gamble

-According to Articles 284 and 285 of the Criminal Law, the law prohibits the provision and participation in free online games of chance

-According to the state, poker is a game of chance

-Occasional family games, even games played for money, are legal if they occur in a closed society rather than habitually (§284, 285 StGB).



Gambling or skill game?


Unfortunately, in Germany, there is no simple answer to the legality of online poker. But one thing is clear: neither the lawyer nor the court really saw the legal jungle!

The basic question about poker and its rules is: is it a game of luck or skill? Many differences and processes indicate that this question is difficult to answer.

Research conducted by well-known institutions and companies shows that the strategic share of poker is between 25% and 40%. For some people, defining a game as a skill game is sufficient, while for others, it is not.

One thing is clear: on CasinoSlots, poker has two types of characteristics. No one will refute-if everything is correct-the distribution of cards is entirely based on luck. However, in the game itself, there are many personal characteristics and skills that affect the outcome of the game. How else can you explain that you will almost always find the same face in a big game. Not only do the cards received determine the outcome of the game; math, psychological and strategic decisions and factors play a vital role. Bluff, self-control, deception, and the correct perception of the chance of winning distinguish successful players from less successful players. However, despite how complicated the game may be, it has so far been classified as a game of chance.




Why is it so important?


Basically, it is only allowed to play money in CasinoSlots in state-approved casinos. Despite this, millions of people still play online poker in this country. The resulting turnover is estimated at 2.5 billion euros.

Legally speaking, games are divided into games of chance and games of skill. The decisive factor here is whether profit or loss depends mainly on opportunities, or on knowledge, talents and skills. In short, for these two categories, this means that luck is determined by chance, and in skill games, the outcome of the event depends largely on your own ability. In which category the game is classified is important, because chance games are strictly regulated in Germany, and according to StGB § 284 and § even unauthorized events or participation in competitions should be punished. The situation is different from skill games or so-called "entertainment games". By definition, games are classified as games of chance, but only small bets are played, so "it doesn't matter." There is no fixed limit, but it is generally assumed that bets below 50 cents still fall into this category.


German gambling regulations


German legislation and EU law-a brief review


Courts and legal experts in Germany and Europe dispute the strict German gaming regulations against EU law. In 2006, the Federal Constitutional Court declared that the National Lottery Treaty and its monopoly regulations were unconstitutional; in 2010, the European Court of Justice declared (indirectly) the 2008 National Game Treaty to be illegal and not applicable under EU law. At the same time, it is applicable to the contract of July 1, 2012, which legalizes sports betting for a certain period of time under at least certain conditions. But the new contract also does not provide for private providers to provide their services on the German market. You can find most providers in Germany that circumvent this ban in Germany. These providers are located in EU countries. Online poker in these countries is legal and it is possible to obtain the corresponding license. Therefore, the Internet allows providers to operate on the German market without having to place servers in Germany. The basis of their efforts is the freedom to provide services in Europe. This is one of the four basic freedoms in the European single market. It enables all businesses, businesses, handicrafts and freelancers to freely enter all service markets. Member States of the European Union. Therefore, banning these providers would violate applicable EU guidelines.

The chart below shows how much has happened in the European Union regarding gambling regulation in recent years:


Online Poker Grey Zone


Since the renewal of the National Game Treaty in 2012, the administrative and criminal law situation in Germany remains uncertain. The court still believes to a large extent that according to §284StGB and §, the provision and participation in unauthorized online gambling should be punished. Participants of £285 can be punished with imprisonment up to 6 months or a fine of 180 times a day. The fact that millions of players are punished every day shows that the current legal situation in Germany is no longer in line with the spirit of the times. Many people also complain that the state's reasoning is incomprehensible, that is, only domestic, national providers bring security, while foreign providers do not. This assessment is unreasonable, especially in the process of increasing internationalization.

Those responsible in Germany and the European Union must ask themselves the question again and again: What about providers who do not settle in Germany and have licenses in their own country?


Foreign provider This is because of the short share of providers on the Internet. The most common corporate headquarters of providers are, for example, Gibraltar, the British Channel Islands or Malta. In these countries, the legal situation is more favorable than gambling and permits can be obtained.

According to the EU law on the freedom to provide services, you have the right to provide services in all European internal markets. In many cases, participants usually accept insurance by accepting terms and conditions, allowing gambling in their place and complying with legal requirements. On the one hand, this is a problem for users, because this is an attempt to shirk their responsibility, on the other hand, the provider should block the account (whether or not authorized), players have little chance to take legal action


Play money vs real money If you want to be safe and interested in playing games instead of actually making money from online poker, you can choose to use "play money" to play games online for free. The Play Money version usually provides almost all software on the market.

Playing games without betting is not only legal, but also a good way to learn rules and strategies and slowly find the direction of the game. In principle, there is almost no difference between real money and real money tables. Of course, when it comes to real bets and high-volume wins, stronger players will find themselves, and there are times when players will not take games seriously if they are not real money, and strategic considerations are often In the background device. Even if the possibility of conviction is small, anyone playing real money games should be aware of this risk. Because regardless of whether German law complies with EU guidelines, when things get tough, there is a danger of being sentenced!




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