Uniform EU rules for online gambling required

The new State Treaty on Gaming (GlüStV) has been in force in Germany since July 1, 2021. If it were up to the European Consumer Center Germany (EVZ), online gambling should even be regulated uniformly across Europe. The concern is that foreign gaming companies without a German license will continue to target German gamblers with their offerings.

EU rules for online gambling

Although the new State Treaty on Gaming came into force in Germany on July 1, 2021, numerous online casinos still offer their gaming portfolios with a European license. The advantage of these online casinos with an EU license from Malta is that you can play here without restrictions, such as the 5 second rule or the monthly deposit limit of 1,000 euros. To what extent the nationwide gaming supervisory authority in Saxony-Anhalt can and will control providers with a European license is still completely unclear. For this reason, the European Consumer Center Germany (EVZ) is now calling for uniform regulation of online gaming in Europe.

Is Europe-wide gambling regulation realistic?

The EVZ describes EU-wide regulation of online games of chance as “desirable”. A timely agreement between the member states involved is not expected at the current time. The co-director and press officer of the consumer center, Karolina Wojtal, says:

“If you consider that it took years for the German federal states to come to an agreement, this unfortunately doesn’t seem realistic. Here the ideas of the member states differ even further ”.

According to the statement, it is unlikely that the EU will agree on regulation in this area in the foreseeable future. Ultimately, the member states involved must agree on this. The lawyer of the EVZ, Alexander Wahl, pointed out in this context that it is possible for EU states to restrict or completely prohibit online gambling for the purpose of “maintaining public order and security as well as health protection”.

Furthermore, even with EU-wide regulation of online gaming, it would not be ruled out that illegal gaming providers without a valid license could still advertise for players on the market. It would be more expedient for each member state to adopt a player-friendly set of rules that do not drive players onto the black market and thus protect them.

The European Consumer Centers (ECC) support consumers in using the European internal market. In order to achieve this goal, the EVZ support consumers in legal disputes, answer direct questions from consumers and providers and provide advice and assistance, for example in the event of complaints. The EVZ Germany is located in Kehl in Baden-Württemberg and has been the first point of contact for all German consumers with cross-border questions for 15 years.

Does consumer protection really matter?

The criticism of the new GlüStV in Germany has recently increased significantly. Just a few weeks ago, for example, we reported an EU complaint against the planned online machine tax of 5.3% of the stake. Critics are of the opinion that politics does not depend on effective player protection at all, but rather on the highest possible tax revenues.

In fact, the controversial online tax could mean that channeling into the legal market could decrease sharply in the coming months. The German Association for Telecommunications and Media e.V. (DVTM) even fears channeling of less than 50%. That would mean that more than every second player would flee to the black market. You can still play here without any restrictions or limits.


In the foreseeable future, it is unlikely that the decision-makers in the EU will agree on a uniform set of rules for online gambling. The resistance of individual member states, which benefit greatly from the current situation, would probably be very great. In addition, a single European solution could mean that a number of compromises would have to be made, which in the end would lead to the player protection requirement not being met. For this reason, a uniform EU set of rules for online gaming is currently just a dream.

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