One of the world’s biggest online poker markets has been shaken up after new rules and regulations are unveiled earlier this month. After Germany released regulations on October 15th, the new rules have left online poker rooms positioning themselves to make adjustments to comply with the new landscape.
The new rules, which were unveiled earlier this month, are being referred to as a “tolerance policy” to allow poker sites to continue to operate in the country until a new Gambling Treaty goes into effect next July.
Poker rooms impacted
The tolerance policy has resulted in a variety of changes to online poker rooms serving German customers. In response to the changes, PokerStars has blocked access for Germans to its European network while it works to comply with the new rules. Run It Once is also temporary leaving the market as well. Both online poker sites are expected to relaunch in the country under the new temporary framework. partypoker responded to the latest developments by launching a new client, while Unibet and 888 are working on clients of their own.
Other operators are taking a different approach. Winamax, Ladbrokes, and Redbet have even decided to leave the German online poker market altogether.
— Nick Jones (@pokerprojones) October 16, 2020
The tolerance period is applicable to online casinos as well as online poker rooms. Operators that offer only sports betting will need to apply for a German sports betting license. Further compliance will be required once a license has been issued. Some gambling companies that have received licenses to operate in the country include Sportingbet, Bet365, bwin and BetVictor.
Some of the rules effecting poker rooms
What are German states requiring of poker rooms?
German states have released a variety of requirements for online poker rooms to continue operating in the market. Poker rooms are required to adhere to what some are calling strict requirements. Such policies include limiting monthly deposits to €1000, restricting players to a maximum of 4 tables and removing the ability for players to choose tables and seats.
In addition, sites are now required to a comprehensive “know your customer” policy that enforces identity checks. Online poker rooms are also not allowed to advertise in Germany and must maintain a registered office in the European Union.
The impact of the tolerance policy isn’t limited to online poker rooms. Operators offering “virtual slots” are not allowed to refer to games as a “casino.” A virtual slot game must also last for at 5 seconds while the stakes must be limited to €1 per game by December 15th.
Operators that don’t comply with the tolerance policy, could face prohibition and payment blocking orders with the risk that operators may not be able to get licensed in the country. And for most online gambling operators, being denied access to one of the largest European markets is not part of their future plans.