Online poker sites are beginning to flee from the German market due to new regulations. The German government implemented a new regulatory system, which is now causing an upheaval. Many online poker sites are leaving entirely.
The German government tolerated poker sites that were running as unlicensed operators before it created the new regulations. Heavy taxes from winnings caused high-profiled poker players to leave Germany, but there was nothing criminal and unlawful about gambling online.
It is essential to know that the German government has decided to develop a rigorous approach with more compliance from online poker operators.
On September 10th, the German authorities agreed on a “Tolerance Policy,” not until the end of the month that the policy conveyed its rules for poker sites to adhere to. However, poker operators were given October 15th as the deadline to comply with the new policy, which was just two weeks to comply.
Few of these new policies apply to online poker, but most sites will need to effect the KYC (Know-Your-Customer) requirements. The KYC requirements involve players submitting their verification details or means of identification. Usually, governments impose KYC requirements in places where money laundering could take place.
The set of rules
According to the new regulations, German players will only be allowed to play a maximum of four tables at once. They aren’t permitted to choose the type of table they want; the minimum deposit per month is capped at €1,000. Additionally, the ‘panic button’ present in the new rules can self-ban a player instantly for a day.
The seating restrictions and table limits are the same as what some American online poker sites have done to maintain a healthy ecosystem.
Furthermore, deposit limits are strict and not encouraging for online poker professionals and high-stakes experts, and they need more plans to boost their livelihood.
Due to these restrictions, many poker operators such as Redbet, Betfair, and Ladbrokes have decided to move out of the market entirely, and, likely, the French poker site Winamax will also leave.
PokerStars and Phil Galfond’s Run It Once are temporarily planning to move out of the German market until the companies begin to comply with the new rules. Run It Once said there are planning to go out of the German market for about two months.
🚨 Update for Germany 🚨
Due to regulatory developments, starting on Thursday, October 15th, Run It Once Poker will need to temporarily suspend its service to residents of Germany. We expect to be back up and running within the next 1 – 2 months. https://t.co/ECKpY2Badp
— Run It Once Poker (@RunItOncePoker) October 12, 2020
“Update for Germany. Due to regulatory developments, starting on Thursday, October 15th, Run It Once Poker will need to temporarily suspend its service to residents of Germany. We expect to be back up and running within the next 1 – 2 months.”
So what is next?
Companies like Unibet, GGPoker, and 888Poker are making new changes to comply with Germany’s new rules, and they haven’t said anything yet about leaving the market. It is also essential to know that 888 is creating a new platform for its German players. 888’s new platform will be launched in NOV.2.
Due to the fact that many companies are exiting the market, lots of poker players now have fewer options to play. Nevertheless, sites that have decided not to go out of the German market may see their revenue decrease.
GVC Holdings, the owner of several European-facing poker sites operating in Germany, stated through a press release: “The overall impact of the Tolerance Policy will be to reduce revenue across the German market.”
There are several speculations that poker operators will need to pool their operations into a central database so that everything will be monitored and table limits and deposits will be imposed collectively. But it still unknown if such a system will be in line with European data protection laws.