As the largest country in Europe, and one of the wealthiest, Germany has long been an ideal location for betting operators and today is home to a thriving betting market, with many of Europe’s top betting firms providing opportunities for sports betting enthusiasts to bet on their favourite sports.
In this guide to sports betting in Germany, we will be giving you the information that you need to start betting on sports, including details on the legality of German sports betting, betting tax, payment and withdrawal methods and all you need to know about betting on football in Germany.
Is Sports Betting Legal in Germany?
The legality of sports betting in Germany has some parallels to the United States, in that Germany is made up of 16 states, all of which have freedom to set their own rules and regulations. Unlike the US, however, German states have traditionally allowed one state to lead the way on regulating gambling.
In Germany, that state was Schleswig-Holstein. When a 2008 Interstate Treaty on gambling was struck down by the European Union, Schleswig-Holstein abstained from the revised Treaty which came into effect in 2012. The state had previously licensed 20 sports betting operators and a number of these were allowed to continue to operate throughout subsequent years, even when Schleswig-Holstein joined the Treaty provisions in 2018.
During that time, German law allowed for up to 20 betting companies to bid for licences to offer sports betting services, but this process became bogged down in legal arguments, with the result that no new betting companies have entered the German market. That may be resolved when the newest edition of the Interstate Treaty is launched in the summer of 2021. Until then, sports betting companies already operating in Germany have been given transitional protection.
It is therefore legal to bet on sports through a number of well-known providers who are permitted to offer sports betting services to the German market, including 888 Sport, Bwin and Admiral, both through land-based venues and online. In addition, there is a German Tote organisation. Oddset, that offers sports and racing betting through a number of retail outlets.
German Betting Payment Methods
At the end of 2019, the German authorities made a controversial move and banned the use of Paypal in casino and poker betting. Fortunately for German sports betting fans, the ban did not apply to sports betting, and Paypal remains one of the most popular payment methods in the country.
Other modern payment services including Trustly, Cash2Code, Klarna and OnlineUberweisung have been making progress in Germany, while more familiar options such as Visa and MasterCard remain viable alternatives for German sports betting fans, along with Bank Transfers, although all three of these older options come with longer delays when making withdrawals from sportsbooks.
Betting Tax in Germany
Betting tax is never popular with sports betting fans and unfortunately German sports bettors have to take account of tax when they place their bets.
All sports bets in Germany are theoretically subject to a 5% betting tax. That means that customers have to pay an additional 5% tax on their stake every time they bet on a sports event. The tax was introduced in 2012, partly as an attempt to deter people from sports betting.
The good news for betting fans is that some bookmakers have diluted the effect of the tax. Both Betfair and Tipico have absorbed the effect of the tax themselves, effectively removing it for any customers who use their services. Interwetten, another company active in the German market, only impose the tax on winning bets, so bettors who make losing bets are not penalised.
The best approach to betting tax when considering a sports bet in Germany is to check out each bookmaker’s rules on the tax before you hand over your money, and to ensure that you take the effect of the betting tax into account when calculating your stakes or your return.
Football Betting in Germany
Germany has long been a powerhouse of world football. The international football team has won the World Cup four times, while the top German league, the Bundesliga, draws some of the biggest average attendances in the world.
So it is no surprise to find that football betting in the country is enormously popular. In fact, one calculation showed that as much as 80% of all sports betting in Germany is associated with football, with the remaining 20% divided mainly between handball, tennis and ice hockey.
The result is that the German sports betting sector is heavily geared towards football. A number of top German teams have betting company sponsors, while the German football betting markets are among the most competitive in Europe, providing a huge variety of betting options and wide coverage of football events from around the world. In fact, outside the UK, Germany is arguably the world’s foremost legal football betting centre.
Although the statues of sports betting in Germany has been through some twists and turns over the years, German betting fans have multiple betting opportunities. In addition, the country’s long-established legal framework and integration with European regulations mean that betting customers enjoy a high level of protection. It also means that betting companies operating in the country are obliged to adhere to stringent rules in how they operate, making this one of the best regions in the world in which to enjoy sports betting.