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Germany's onshore virtual slots market has halved since 2021 ...and more!

Germany's onshore virtual slots market has halved since 2021


Since the entry into force of the Germany's Interstate Gambling Treaty (GlüStV 2021), Germany's onshore virtual slots market has halved. Over the same period, the onshore online sports betting market has declined by c. 15%.


This is evidenced by an analysis of public tax data published by Prof. Dr. Tilman Becker.

Although online gambling was not regulated before the entry into force of the GlüStV 2021 (except in the state of Schleswig-Holstein), violations of Germany's gambling law were considered relatively minor administrative offenses, while tax evasion was (and is) subject to criminal law proceedings and punishable with significant prison sentences. Because of this, most Germany-facing unlicensed gambling operators opted to pay taxes in the country.


Tax data indicates that between July 2021 and December 2023 player stakes declined significantly. These trend lines are shown below. (Detailed figures are available in the linked article.)



“German states miss out on €1bn in gambling taxes”


According to a study commissioned by the German Sports Betting Association (DSWV), Germany's federal states miss out on €1bn in gambling taxes every year due to overregulation and players fleeing to the black market.


The above mentioned study was carried out by Prof. Gunther Schnabl of the University of Leipzig. Unfortunately, the full study has not been published. Only a summary has been made publicly available.


Although this casts some doubt on the reliability of the €1bn figure, there are important indications that Germany's regulated onshore market is indeed shrinking due to overly high regulatory and tax burdens.


While some players are undoubtedly taking their business to black-market alternatives, the precise extent of this substitution effect is unclear. Perhaps not all players who have become disenchanted with the regulated market are moving to illegal alternatives. It is also possible that regulatory measures to limit play have some effect.


Unfortunately, neither possibility can be confirmed based on the available data.


Controversial study says Germany gambling addiction at “epidemic” proportions


The number of people addicted to gambling in Germany has more than tripled from 400,000 to 1.3 million in the space of just five years, according to a controversial new study by the country's federal ministry of health.


The cause of the dramatic increase is not explained, nor has the underlying data been published. As a result of this lack of transparency, the study's findings have been questioned by experts, as well as representatives of Germany's largest opposition party, CDU.


The sharp increase in reported problem gamblers coincides with the Hamburg Institute for Interdisciplinary Addiction and Drug Research (ISD) and the University of Bremen jointly becoming responsible for supplying problem gambling data instead of the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA), which is now about to be dissolved at the request of Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD).


More clarity at the 2024 Gaming in Germany Conference?


After a highly successful 2023 edition, the 2024 Gaming in Germany Conference will once again take place at the five-star Adlon Hotel in the heart of historic Berlin.


Considering the remarkable lack of clarity and often contradictory data on Germany's online gambling, we will certainly aim to provide accurate insights on the latest market developments and trends.


The 2024 Gaming in Germany Conference has been scheduled for Tuesday, November 5, 2024.


Our first confirmed speaker at the 2024 Gaming in Germany Conference is Dr. Joerg Hofmann, Senior Partner at Melchers Law and Past President of the IMGL.


Registration for this event is now open. Register now or save the date!


Other events


The following event(s) may be of interest to the Gaming in Germany community.


  • The University of Hohenheim's annual Glücksspielsymposium is scheduled to take place March 12-13, 2024.

  • Don't miss the 2024 Gaming in Spain Conference which will take May 6, 2024 – one day prior to FIJMA24, Spain's leading land-based gambling event. Combine two events with one visit!

  • The 2024 Gaming in Holland Conference returns to the KIT Royal Tropical Institute on June 6, 2024, for another round of discussions and exchange of information on how to move forward in the highly regulated Dutch iGaming market.

Austria's NEOS party calls for sports betting to be classified as a game of chance


The Austrian party NEOS are calling for sports betting to be classified as a game of chance subject to the country's Gambling Act. Sports betting is currently classified as a skill game, like billiards, bridge, and chess.


In a motion proposed by Stefanie Krisper (NEOS), the Federal Minister for Sport is called upon to implement the recommendations of the study commissioned by the Ministry of Finance on the risk potential of sports betting.


Meanwhile, Austria's attempts to implement an open licensing system for online gambling appear to have once again reached a dead end.

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