Gambling providers who want to operate in Germany need a German gambling licence. This follows from Section 4 (1) of the State Treaty on Gambling (Glücksspielstaatsvertrag = GlüStV). Licences for private providers can currently be granted for the organisation and brokerage of sports betting as well as for the brokerage of lotteries (commercial gambling brokerage) among others (see below for the planned future legal situation of the GlüStV 2021).

Seat in the EU

One of the central requirements for the granting of such a licence is that the applicant must be domiciled in a member state of the European Union (EU) or a state party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA), see Section 4a (4) sentence 1 no. 3 lit. b) GlüStV. Here, the Brexit has the following impact:

  • After Brexit, the United Kingdom is neither an EU member state nor an EEA member state. Therefore, providers that previously only had a registered office in the United Kingdom must now establish a registered office in Germany or another EU member state or EEA member state if they want to obtain a German gambling licence.
  • After Brexit, Gibraltar is also no longer an EU member state or EEA member state. Therefore, providers based in Gibraltar must now also establish a registered office in Germany or another EU member state or EEA member state if they wish to obtain a German gambling licence.
  • Irrespective of Brexit, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands (administrative districts of Guernsey and Jersey) are still neither EU members nor EEA member states, so that gambling providers based there must also establish a registered office in the EU or an EEA member state if they wish to obtain a German gambling licence.
  • In contrast, Malta was and is part of the EU and the EEA. The seat of a gambling provider in Malta thus fulfils the German requirements for the seat of the provider for the granting of a German gambling licence.

Further requirements

Other licence requirements also have an EU connection:

  • For example, gaming-related payment transactions must be processed via an account in Germany or at a credit institution domiciled in an EU member state (see Section 4a (4) sentence 1 no. 3 lit. e) GlüStV). In accordance with the above, a bank account in the United Kingdom or in Gibraltar no longer meets these requirements. However, a bank account with a bank in Malta would be sufficient.
  • In addition, the granting of a licence requires that a bank guarantee be provided by a credit institution with its registered office in the EU or an EEA member state (see Section 4c (3) GlüStV).

Outlook: GlüStV 2021

On 1 July 2021, the new GlüStV 2021 is to come into force and will open up new licensing possibilities, among others for online casino games in the form of virtual slots as well as for online poker (see draft in LT-Drs. NRW 17/11683).

The requirements described will continue to apply with the GlüStV 2021. This is because the current requirements from Section 4a (4) GlüStV will in future be included in Section 4a (1) GlüStV 2021.