Active players: 47.000.000
Gambling products under regulation: Horse races, poker, all state-run lotteries, sports betting, and licensed casino games at Schleswig Holstein until 2021
Types of operators: brick-and-mortar casinos, government-run betting shops, online casinos, and foreign-based bookmakers
Designated authority: Unlike Schleswig Holstein where online betting is regulated, such is not the case in other parts of the country
Status: No real restrictions on online foreign bookmakers
Besides being European Union’s largest economy, Germany is one of the regions soccer powerhouse. The country’s long history in sports betting has seen bettors placing their bets regularly, with statistics indicating that close to 60% of them place their bets almost once a week. Despite Germany’s liberal climate that favors many practices –online betting being one of them-, in the recent years though, there seems to be a push by the government to impose a state-owned monopoly on betting while favoring a local firm known as ODDSET. However, this move was met with an unwavering opposition from other betting sites –both local and foreign-owned -, a move that led to a ruling that was made at The Court of Justice for the European Union that gave way for German gamblers to freely place their bets on any foreign site, a no “strict” gambling directive that will last until the year 2021.
Wagering in Germany – 5 things to be aware of
- No single bookmaker has a license to conduct business in Germany except a few that are based in Schleswig Holstein such as Ladbrokes, Bet-at-home, Betfair, and bet365
- Many brick-and-mortar betting shops are run by ODDSET, a state-run firm, with a few other operators such as Tipwin and
- Tipico also holding a solid market position
- Depending on the state where one is residing in, the minimum legal gambling age is 18 – 21
- The year 2021 will be the final experimental phase in the gambling regime with the possibility of such being extended to 2024
- There’s a 5% compulsory tax on all players with some bookmakers taking it upon them
Best German betting sites
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There are plenty of well-established bookmakers in Germany however, not all of them are worth your time and energy. Here is a brief guide on how to find the best.
- License: As a player, your safety is guaranteed provided you play with a firm that operates under a reputable authority such as MGA or UKGC.
- German look of the website and customer support: There are plenty of bookies in Germany. However, it is recommended you deal with those that provide excellent customer service in German in addition to the German version of their website as opposed to lackluster auto-translated versions.
- Popular payments in Germany: In our ratings, we considered popular payments such as PayPal, Sofort, and Skrill that are supported by reputable EU-licensed betting sites.
- Huge odds and market varieties: As always, we prefer and suggest bookies that provide high odds coupled with a variety of markets, especially for non-league football like division 3, Oberliga, Regionalliga, Liga.
- No tax: Lastly, we like to suggest on those bookies that take the 5% take upon them as opposed to imposing them on gamblers/players.
Betting in Deutschland: Gambling Law Framework in Germany
Germany is still classified as a “grey” area when it comes to betting and as such, it’s crucial to be aware of the rules and regulations in place for a safe and pleasant betting experience. Below is the country’s legal framework that affects both offline and online betting.
Online Betting in Germany
If we were to provide a list of gambling in Germany that are licensed by the state per se, those you are most likely to find are those in Schleswig-Holstein whose licenses do not cover all regions in Germany. While Ladbrokes, Bet-at-home, Bet365, and Betfair have got Schleswig-Holstein licenses, they can only operate in that state and not in the entire country. Based on the transitional phase that the country’s regime is going through, you are better off relying on bookies operating under international licenses that are trusted. As a word of caution, you shouldn’t assume that .de ending sites are state-licensed. If there’s something that shouldn’t trouble you, then it is being fined for playing online. But that’s not to say that players haven’t being fined in the past. The good thing is that such scenarios are quite rare. Not so long ago, casinos were illegal with some operators having been fined. An apt example involved the Guts casino where a player from Munich faced heavy fines, a move that made the company to close business from the region.
Betting exchange in Germany – Available options
Unfortunately, Betfair only operates as a conventional sportsbook as opposed to a type of exchange in Germany. Matchbook also doesn’t accept players from Germany anymore, a move that has seen 1xBet operating without any competitor as a betting exchange in the country despite having limited liquidity. German punters have always relied on 1xbit when it comes to Crypto betting exchange.
Betting Firms with Shops in Germany (Wettbüros)
German brick-and-mortar gambling shop landscape is well defined. Besides ODDSET that holds a lion share of the market, others such as Tipico German holds a sizable market share with physical betting shops in Karlsruhe and Gelsenkirchen to mention but a few places. Tipwin has got better online products and several betting shops in various places such as Gelsenkirchen. Even though Bet3000 and Tipbet operate land-based casinos, undoubtedly, Tipbet’s online version highly excels compared to other betting shops on grounds of odds and market varieties. Lately, there’s a move by the state of Hesse to license gambling in order to have its first regulated gambling in place by January 2020.
German payment landscape: Sofort, Paypal & Skrill Betting Sites
While Paypal remains to be prominent in Germany, not the entire betting sites seem to support it. Bookmakers that truly appreciate German fanbase have attempted to introduce other payment options such as ApplePay and other conventional ones such as MuchBetter, Cash2Code, and OnlineUberweisung. Trustly is slowly picking up pace too.
There are no rules in place regarding the manner you prefer to fund your account or withdrawal from your German bookie account. E-wallets such as Neteller & Skrill, bank cards, local Giropay, and wire transfers are available to any player. Examined closely, Sofort has got a solid reputation thanks to their transaction speeds and convenient instant banking, a move that has seen plenty of German betting sites offering it. It’s important to be aware that most non-EU licensed bookies don’t offer Skrill or Neteller in Germany. However, if your intend to use one of them, then it’s wise to confirm with live chat first.
New betting sites in Germany
Honestly, the number of new and upcoming betting sites in Germany is on the rise. Again, with Germany being more of “gambling paradise” nearly all of them accept German players. Again, not all of them deserve your time and hard-earned cash. To us, NeoBet appears more promising based on their excellent mobile app coupled with Sofort payments. On the other hand, Zulabet provides huge odds and slightly above 32,000 events monthly. Lastly, a popular casino known as LeoVegas entered the business in 2016 offering plenty of special bets and high payouts.
Bet Deutschland: What are the expected future trends?
Even though the current situation seems to favor players, we are deeply uncertain about the motives of German lawmakers. While having huge betting options existing among bookmakers that are heavily regulated is positive, there must be a reason as to why such happened. Even though the current legal structure appears strict, there seems to be something positive for international bookmakers. Still, the much-awaited legislation expected to be ratified by the Bundestag will not only allow foreign operators to conduct business but also limit the amount of gaming in Germany too. According to us, Germany needs to learn from Britain and only intervene when the safety of a player is at stake.
Frequently asked questions
Q: Is bet365 legal across Germany? / Does bet 365 work well in Germany?
Absolutely! Bet365 not only accept German players/gamblers but is also licensed to conduct business in Schleswig-Holstein state.
Q: Is horse gambling legal in Germany?
Not only is horse betting legal and allowed in Germany, but one of the country’s most popular games to place your bets on, especially Thoroughbred racing. More so, it’s broadcasted widely on TV as well.
Q: Can I use a German account to bet if I’m abroad?
All these depend on bookmakers. However, you need to disclose that you will be using a VPN and its ok if they accept it. Again, if you are a regular player with a certain book for long, there are high chances that they won’t turn you down.
Q: Are there any documentations necessary to verify a German account?
You will require two documents; one showing proof of address and another showing proof of identity. So, you will be required to have a Stromrechnung sourced from major providers such as E.ON, Innogy, RWE, and Uniper among others. Secondly, you will need a Telefonrechnung sourced from T-mobil or your ideal provide. Lastly, you will be required to have your Ausweis and a local phone number.