Online poker in Germany has been in upheaval following the new legislation that went into effect on October 15, 2020. The German government is implementing the regulation, saying it is crucial as the new system is preparing the public for July 2021 when the changes become law.
As a result, significant operators are temporarily leaving the poker industry while others are leaving for good. Before the rule came into effect, online poker sites were operating as unlicensed. The government was tolerating it but was heavily taxing poker game winnings. This consequently led to many German poker pros leaving the country to play in another country. However, nothing was illegal in terms of playing online poker until October 15, when operators had to apply the Tolerance Policy.
The government approved the policy on September 10, 2020. Yet, the specific guidelines were laid out at the end of September, giving online sites a short period to become compliant with the given rules.
What Does It Mean for Germany Poker Enthusiasts?
Poker players residing in Germany will have to comply with the rules as follows:
• Play only up to four tables simultaneously
• Can’t choose their seats at the table
• Deposit amount will be capped at €1,000 per month
• Have a panic button to press, to impose themselves to self-ban for 24 hours instantly
The restriction on deposit may not affect recreational players, but remaining professional players feel the rule is untenable. Some of these remaining few are likely to look for greener pastures or relocate.
What Does It Mean for Poker Operators?
The only thing poker operators are doing is to implement strict know-your-customer requirements. The poker rooms will only accept new players who fulfill the KYC as outlined, while the existing players will have to give additional identity information.
Some have, however, not been able to fulfill the above requirements. According to TwoPlusTwo, Ladbrokes, Betfair, and Redbet have quit gambling marketed in Germany. Other companies such as Run It Once and PokerStars are temporarily leaving the market until they can comply with the new rules.
According to a post on Twitter from Run It Once, the company might be back in operation in two months. On the other hand, Unibet and GGPoker are on the path of complying with the legislation, but it’s not clear when of if they will be back. 888Poker is building an entirely new platform for German clients that they will unveil on November 2.
With many companies exiting the market, German players will have fewer options, and companies may collect less revenue. In a press release by GVC Holdings, the owner of several poker sites functioning in Germany, the Tolerance Policy may reduce income across the German market.