Because of the new gaming rules adoption german poker lovers are likely to move to the offshore websites
Germany is the biggest country in Western Europe. Although its territory is only seven-eighths of the area of California, more than twice as many people live here. There are lots of classical world-famous poker players that initially came from Germany such as Fedor Holtz, Dominic Nietzsche, and Ole Shimon. Also, the winners of the WSOP Main Event Pius Heinz (2011) and Hussein Ensan (2019) hail from this country.
Before entering the international level, all of them had been sharpening poker skills online. It looks like the next generation of German poker players may be deprived of the opportunity to master their poker skills at such poker websites as PokerStars, Party Poker and 888Poker. It is all about new legislation, which might come into force next year.
About The New Legislation
Germany is similar to the United States in terms of territorial structure. It is divided into 16 “lands” (states) that have the right to pass their laws, although some areas of activity are controlled exclusively at the federal level. For example, each land issues licenses to physical casinos. However, sports betting is regulated by the government of the country (as well as, for some unknown reason, ordinary slot machines).
At this point, gambling regulation is represented only in one German land: Schleswig-Holstein. Online gambling has been banned in the rest of Germany since 2008, although there have not yet been any real punishments for them. However, since 2012, sixteen German lands have been negotiating about the conclusion of an agreement that would regulate cross-border online gambling, which is expected to enter into force next year.
How Cross-Border Online Gambling Agreement Affects Internet Gambling
This agreement reflects the general rules for conducting online gambling for the whole country. From 2020, all operators will have to obtain a license to have the right to offer services to German citizens. The license only applies to online sports betting. As soon as the operator receives a license, he is obliged to stop any activity not related to sports betting. This takes online casinos and online poker beyond the law (with possible legalization in future).
Therefore, it is probable that online operator such as PokerStars, PartyPoker, and 888Poker will have to comply with local laws and prohibit the Germans from playing online poker on their platforms. Moreover, in case of refusal to do this, gambling companies risk losing American licenses for online gambling.
Will Online Poker Get Back in Future?
Well, probably. Although most operators will want to obtain a license to play in online casinos, no one knows for sure whether the German online poker market will be isolated (as it was in France, Spain, Italy and Portugal). And whether it will be part of the united EU network. Taking account of the situation with the US market regulation, some operators may find the cost of the license too high that may force them to leave German market.
Even in the Worst Case, German Players Still Have Lots Possibilities
As seen in the last few years when some countries like Portugal banned online poker, local players moved to offshore sites. It’s essential to know that Germany is eight times the population of Portugal. Therefore if Germany bans online poker, the outcome will be massive. And even if the German authorities later allows licensed operators to serve online poker games, German players may not want to return immediately.
For these reasons, the next few years may become the golden age for offshore online poker rooms. The significant amount of traffic will affect tournaments prize pools, and incensement will echo around the globe. Players from other countries can follow Germany, and also move to places where they can earn decent money.