Where can we bet securely and which are the leading bookmakers in Germany?
Find out information regarding the top three bookies for Germany from our table below. These are the most reputable and trustworthy betting sites for German players.
Germany has a long history of betting, with the first casino being built in 1720, potentially making it the oldest in the world. However, with the shift of betting into the online world, the German government began to enforce notoriously strict laws. They prevent almost all of the country from using online casinos, and a small number of online bookmakers are licensed to operate in the country. Despite this relatively small market, the options available for punters are of incredibly high quality and offer a range of gaming services.
Interesting Facts about Betting in Germany
- Germany generates approximately €14 billion in revenue from gambling per year
- The majority of gambling is done in brick-and-mortar casinos or sportsbooks (over €10 billion of the total €14 billion in revenue was from physical betting, as opposed to online)
- Although the online gambling market is relatively small compared to physical betting, it continues to grow annually
- Approximately 37% of Germans regularly gamble
- Gambling is illegal everywhere in Germany, except for in the state of Schleswig-Holstein
- 38% of all gambling activity is done on sports betting, the most popular form of gambling in the country
Gambling Legislation and Laws
Various forms of gambling are legal in Germany, both in physical betting sites and online. The Interstate Treaty on Gambling, 2012, is the most significant piece of legislation that controls gambling within the country. This stipulates that punters are allowed to bet on card games in brick-and-mortar casinos. They are allowed to bet on sports from licensed bookmakers, and they can partake in lotteries. The European Union has previously ruled that the German government cannot restrict international companies from offering their services to a German audience online if that is what they wish to do.
As well as these overarching federal policies, each state has control over their own jurisdiction. This results in different legislation depending on the state in Germany. For example, the state of Schleswig-Holstein issued their online casino licenses (something that is illegal elsewhere in the country).
Competition between Operators
Germany used to have a complete monopoly on the majority of different forms of gambling. This was because only the federal states or companies run by the state could offer gambling services. This left no opportunity for private companies to enter the gambling market. However, the EU ruled that this was unjust and that the German government had to cede their monopoly. To this day they still severely restrict the number of licenses that are given to online sports bookmakers. However, it is no longer strictly a monopoly. There are approximately 20 active licenses for companies to offer their services to the German population legally. This reduced competition still restricts the legal opportunities for players.
A relatively large portion of the German online betting population is also choosing to bet on sites that are not registered or licensed in Germany, technically making the act illegal. This further reduces the state control of online gambling, with relatively minimal negative consequences for punters, who are not the target of prosecution.
Bonuses from German Bookmakers
There are many different bonuses and promotions available for German customers, both new and existing members. Almost all reputable sites will offer some form of welcome bonuses for clients when they sign up. This varies from website to website but often involves matching the first, or first few deposits. So if a customer signs up and makes an initial deposit of €100, the bookmaker will match that amount by 50%, or even 100%.
Existing members are also incentivized to continue using the gaming platform, and here bonuses and promotions vary a lot more from site to site. It is therefore essential for customers to find the bonuses and promotions that will give them the greatest benefit. Examples of bonuses include increased odds on certain matches, multi-bets, and cash-back options.
While the majority of these bonuses are not necessarily exclusive to players from Germany, it is important to note that even when a site is not licensed in Germany, players can generally still receive all of the bonuses and promotions offered to other international players.
Betting Features and Options from the German Bookmakers
There are several different features that most German bookmakers have that make betting from Germany such an easy and enjoyable experience. These can include:
Available Payment Methods
Most sites will also offer all of the usual ways to deposit and withdraw money – bank cards, e-wallets, wire transfers. Although PayPal is very popular in Germany and used widely on betting sites, not all operators will accept other e-wallets such as Neteller or Skrill. The majority of the options to deposit and withdraw money are free to use and should be relatively swift, but there are always exceptions to this. Users should always check the payment methods of the specific site before they register if they are concerned.
The minimum that can be deposited into a betting account is generally €1, but sometimes in order to qualify for welcome bonuses, first-time users need to deposit at least €10 for their first deposit. The maximum amount that can be withdrawn from a site at any given time varies more between sites, so it is vital to check each specific site for further details.
The majority of online betting sites accept the euro, the currency that is used in Germany. This includes sites that might not be registered in Germany because the euro is so widely used throughout the continent. This conveniently means that German players do not have to exchange their currency for playing on the international market.
Mobile Betting in Germany
Online casinos in Germany operate in somewhat of a legal grey area. Licenses can be obtained, but only from the state of Schleswig-Holstein.
Currently, online casinos cannot be offered from the same sites that provide sports betting sites. To obtain a license for online sports betting, companies must demonstrate that they are not affiliated with any kind of online casino games as well. This means that customers interested in both types of betting often must visit two separate sites.
Alternatively, German punters can still easily access international betting sites that are not licensed to operate in Germany, but are still reputable, and offer a greater range of casino games.
Online casinos are a favourite of some punters. However, the majority of online betting revenue still comes from sports. As such, the German government recently amended its policies in regards to the licensing of online bookmakers. To obtain a license to operate in Germany, sports betting companies need to prove that they do not offer casino services alongside their sporting betting services, as previously they had been banned altogether. This does not mean that German customers cannot bet on casinos or live casinos, only that the two cannot be offered under one platform.
Leading sports for betting in Germany
Sports betting is one of the most popular forms of gambling in Germany, and these are the most popular sports for punters:
One of the most popular sports to play in Germany, it might come as no surprise that it is equally as popular to bet on as well. Football has been one of the earliest popular sports to bet on and has remained in public favour.
- Ice Hockey
Although not as popular as football or horse racing, ice hockey is seeing a surge in popularity in Germany. This is due in part to the significant improvements of the national team, who won gold in the most recent winter Olympics in PyeongChang, increasing betting interest.
As well as interest in international basketball, Germany has its own national basketball tournament – Basketball Bundesliga. The Bundesliga is thought to be one of the best domestic championships in the world and is a favourite to bet on when playing online. Customers have numerous local and international options when it comes to betting on this sport, making it popular.
- Horse Racing
Similar to football, horse racing is one of the most popular sports to bet on in Germany, and one of the earliest-established. There are several sites that offer live betting on horse races from all around the world as well as locally, often in tandem with promotions to garner extra interest.
The German national handball team is one of the most successful in the world, so understandable German punters want to bet on their side. Many different sites allow users to place bets, and some even offer live betting on the sport.
- Boxing and MMA
Boxing and MMA fights are widely available to bet on in a number of different sites, allowing German bettors the opportunity to win big from these fast-paced events.
The Profile of a German Bettor
The strict laws surrounding online gambling in Germany have not stopped many people from enjoying the pastime, as 10% of all punters who bet online globally, are from Germany. As a relatively affluent population with a long-held love of sports, Germans make the perfect candidates enjoy this hobby. German bettors are also regular users of these sites, with 60% of them playing at least once a week. Most online players bet on sports, with football being the most popular sport to wager on. Males still make up over half of all German bettors. However, gambling is becoming increasingly popular with women too.
Is online gambling legal in Germany?
Short answer – no. You can legally bet online in Germany, and you can lawfully run an online bookmaker. However, the law is somewhat more complicated than in other countries.
Are there any taxes for German players on their winnings?
German players do not get taxed on their winnings, and they get taxed on the stakes that they place. For each bet that is placed online, the government imposes a 5% tax. However, some betting sites try and absorb this cost, reducing the effect on the player and ultimately encouraging them to play more. Some websites will offer to incur the tax themselves, and other sites will only charge players a 5% tax if they win a bet.
What happens if a company does not explicitly tax 5%?
Not all companies will tax players the 5% on their stakes. Some companies will absorb that cost themselves, to make the site more enticing to players, and only charge the tax on winnings. Other platforms that are not licensed in Germany do not need to charge the tax, because the government would not receive the money.
Can I open an account and play in EUR?
Yes. Because online betting is somewhat limited when it comes to German sites, a lot of players tend to play on sites that operate in the EU. While this is allowed, customers must understand that if something goes wrong, their rights are no longer protected by German law. Therefore, all players should exercise extra caution when doing this.
Which are the best football betting sites in Germany?
Football is one of the most popular games to bet on, not just in Germany, but globally. Many different online bookmakers offer a vast range of games and live betting options for the German market. Bet90 is one of the leading sites available to German customers because they are licensed to offer sports betting to the country. They also provide a diverse range of leagues to bet on, including four separate German leagues.
Which are the best horse race betting sites in Germany?
As horse racing is so popular in Germany, many different sites offer excellent services. However, one that stands out is RaceBets. Originally started in Germany in 2005, and today is one of the biggest online providers, with an opportunity to bet on races in over 40 different countries daily. They offer customer service support in German, and on their website, it states that they hold a German license.
Are there any betting restrictions on players in Germany?
Ultimately, German bettors have just about as much freedom as international players, in terms of what they can bet on, or gamble with. The only difference is that they have slightly more limited opportunities in terms of what sites they can use. However, in 2016 it has been ruled that the German government is not allowed to restrict German players from making payments to foreign betting sites.
The only concern with sports betting in Germany is the harsh laws surrounding licensing and running an online bookmaker, although the government looks set to loosen their stance on this shortly. However, the struggle to obtain licenses in Germany can be seen as positive for the user, who can now be assured that any site that has managed to secure a license is indeed reputable, and comes equipped with appropriate data security.
It should also be noted that regardless of the struggle to obtain licensing, and the legality of running a bookmaker in Germany, there appear to be few legal repercussions towards the user for simply betting online. Therefore, there is no risk to players who wish to play on international sites that are unlicensed in Germany. This allows them access to a number of international sites that are still highly professional and safe.