Germany has been a vibrant gambling gray area for many years and it will now finally pass a new gambling law on 1st July 2021. The Glücksspielneuregulierungstaatsvertrag (GlüneuRStV) or Interstate Treaty 2021 will be the first to legally allow online gambling across all 16 states in the country.
In order to support a smooth transition in summer next year, a transition period had been agreed. This transition period with its ‘toleration policy’ started on 15th October and took some operators and many players by surprise – they only had two weeks to prepare.
Operators have to comply with the 2021 law during the transition period in order to successfully be able to apply for licences.
partypoker has informed players resident in Germany that due to recent regulatory changes they will migrate from https://t.co/8WwZoGQuyi to https://t.co/xEfCfpAdcd on Thursday. FAQs https://t.co/U7g5cyvo4q For queries, please contact email@example.com or https://t.co/oZlDqEiDLo pic.twitter.com/xibnJONTyU
— partypoker (@partypoker) October 14, 2020
The law includes many debatable rules for online poker and we will summarize the details here for you. Please keep in mind that not all information is out there for us to report about, so this is what we got right now.
€1.000 Deposit Limit per Month
All players will be subjected to a 30-day deposit limit of €1.000 ($1.150). It is not clear yet if this is across all poker sites or per client.
Maximum of four simultaneous tables
Players will only be able to play 4 tables at a time. It is being stated (see below) that it will only be able to play on one platform at a time. But if this is not the case it is not clear if the table limit will be across all clients.
Removal of seat choice
Players will not be able anymore to freely choose seats at cash game tables. They will receive a random seat in the chosen buy-in. If a table can be chosen is not clear yet.
Only one poker room at a time
Players will only be allowed to play on one poker site at a time.
Possible cancellation of certain variants/features
The rules are not very clear on this yet, but chances are that some novelty variants and special features will not be offered anymore. Here are a few examples:
- Possibly no more Short Deck
- Possibly no more Spin & Gos, SPINS etc
- Possibly no more All-in insurance or cash-out options
- Possibly no more leaderboards
- Possibly no more high stakes games
- Possibly no more rakeback promotions temporarily
- Possible loss of some payment methods
Let’s not forget that many of these changes and rules will be put into place to protect players. And as such there are a few positive changes and additions that have been mentioned so far:
- Win/Loss stats on each log-in
- Reality checks – As for casino games there might be pop-ups every 60-minute reminding you about how much time you have spent playing already
- Panic Button – Players can push a ‘Panic Button’ that will block your account for 24 hours. This way players cannot continue playing for a day if they feel they might have lost control.
- Global Playerpools – even though most poker sites will create .de clients they will still be using the global playerpools
- No higher rake for German players – at the moment it does not look like an automatic rake increase for German players or any automated tax deductions
Apparently there is no central government body actually watching over all of these rules and the new laws still need to receive final approval by the European Commission, so changes can still happen over the course of the next months.
As a result some poker rooms have left the German market already, others will move to .de clients. Here is an overview of the most important operators and their decisions.
Staying in the market
- PokerStars (possible move to .de)
- Partypoker (move to .de)
- Unibet (only web client for now)
- GGPoker (move to .de)
- 888poker (temporarily gone, then move to .de)
- RunItOnce (temporarily gone)
Leaving the market
- Natural8 (players will be migrated to GGPoker)
- Full Tilt (players will be migrated to PokerStars)
- William Hill