The exception in Germany
“The offer is only valid for persons with residence or habitual abode in Schleswig-Holstein.” This is a catchy phrase that everyone has probably heard at least once in connection with gambling. Well-known providers such as Wunderino, Hyperino or DrückGlück lured gamblers into the colorful world of online casinos with nationwide advertising Bob Casino Canada under the aforementioned umbrella sentence – until June 31, 2021. Gambling in Germany was previously only intended for gambling enthusiasts in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein. But since July 1, 2021, a new wind has been blowing: virtual gambling in Germany, including online casinos, has become legal under certain conditions.
SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN: A SPECIAL CASE
Let’s start at the beginning. The first gambling treaty in the Federal Republic was adopted between all 16 German states in 2008. That treaty officially declared online gambling illegal. Almost three years later, one federal state broke ranks: in 2011, Schleswig-Holstein was the only federal state to pass a law legalizing online gambling. Officially, the other 15 federal states held on to the old regulations of the first official treaty until July last year. Deliberately, the word “official” is at the beginning of the last sentence, because the reality showed: online casinos from abroad, excellently based in Malta, were used by German citizens with lively activity. Malta is among a few countries that have ridiculously lax regulations for virtual gambling halls. Net blocks from Germany to corresponding websites abroad are considered politically unenforceable, which prevents regulation.
And then there is Schleswig-Holstein. In Germany’s northernmost state, twelve well-known providers have held licenses to operate online gambling since 2011:
- Crashpoint Malta Ltd. (Merkur casino)
- Electraworks Ltd. (Bwin)
- Greentube Malta Ltd. (Stargames)
- Löwen Play Ltd. (Löwen Casino)
- Megapixel Entertainment Ltd. (Wunderino, Hyperino, Vera & John)
- OnlineCasino Deutschland AG (OnlineCasino Germany, Rizk Casino, Slotilda)
- PlayCherry Ltd. (Sunmaker)
- Reel Germany Ltd. (PokerStars)
- Skill on Net Ltd. (DrückGlück)
- World of Sportsbetting Ltd. (LeoVegas)
- Tipico Company Ltd. (Tipico)
- 888 Germany Ltd. (888)
Naturally however not only inhabitant:inside from Schleswig-Holstein used the service of on-line gambling. The trick is simple: Interested Neukund:innen, which click on appropriate left, are passed on problem-free on cloned Websites of the licensed offerer:inside, resulted in searches of the NDR. To the untrained eye, these website clones look exactly like the pages of the “real” providers. Here, residents of other states can easily register and try their “luck” in virtual gambling halls with the use of real money. Many of the dubious sites are operated by companies in Malta, the island of gambling dreams.
But what role does Malta play in this scenario? “Online gambling is one of the main pillars of the Maltese economy,” expresses Silvio Schembri, Malta’s Assistant Minister for Financial Services and Digital Economy. The online casino sector accounts for about 11% of the gross domestic product and about 8000 of Malta’s residents are employed in this sector, he said. With the goal of attracting businesses to the country, Malta cut red tape in the past – and it has proven to be an extremely lucrative business. Money flows and flows. In addition, the communications and finance industries are growing in Malta. IT and finance are making equally enormous strides. All in all, a win-win situation for Malta.