Will German casinos offer welcome bonuses after regulation?

After years of waiting, the online casino market will finally be regulated in one of Europe’s biggest countries. The new set of laws, called Interstate Treaty on Gambling (ISTG) will cover different fields, including not just online casinos, but other forms of betting as well, particularly online sports betting.

In the past, the German online casino market was pretty heterogenic. Although there were some preparations for the regulation in the past decade, the problem was always in the fact that German is country consisted of federal states. It was always a little bit tricky to harmonize the market that consists of 16 federal states. Finally, the authorities realized that any kind of regulation is better than no regulation.

What About Online Casino Welcome Bonuses?

The new Interstate Treaty on Gambling will get into power next month, and it will bring a comprehensive regulation of various forms of online betting. We already know it won’t be perfect, considering that some of the fields have been left out, but a lot of things will be great. One field that’s not regulated is the aspect of welcome bonuses, so many wonder if things are going to work in this aspect and if casinos will even offer casino bonuses after regulation.

The new law regulates a lot of things, including max deposits, max wagers per spin and similar things. On the other hand, there are no words about welcome bonuses. Still, we don’t expect that will affect typical policies online casinos will have regarding this field.

Simply, welcome bonuses play a very important role in the world of online casinos. It is one of the best ways to attract new players, a kind of reward for choosing a certain house. As things like minimum and maximum bonus fees are not regulated, we presume that these amounts will be similar to those found in other markets in the world.

This means that German players may count on different kinds of promotions. Online casinos use different strategies to attract new players. Some offer higher bonuses, while others offer easier wagering requirements. Some houses even offer no-deposit bonuses. Besides bonus money, free spins are also often a part of the promotion, for players who prefer slot games.

On the other hand, what the new Interstate Treaty on Gambling regulates pretty strictly are terms and conditions. They have to be clear and concise and to give full information to the player. In other words, online casinos will have to be very clear about wagering requirements and other typical terms and conditions that come with welcome bonuses. That’s the thing that will definitely make German players feel safer.

What Else Is Regulated With ISTG?

As we already mentioned, the Interstate Treaty on Gambling brings a comprehensive regulation of online betting. This includes not just casinos, but other forms of online gambling as well. From what we can see in the new act, the German authorities will issue an unlimited number of licenses for sports betting operators. On the other hand, the number of online casino licenses is planned to be limited.

Besides strict rules about operators and their services, another aspect that’s comprehensively regulated in the market. Of course, operators will be allowed to advertise their services, but under certain conditions. For example, operators can’t advertise their services as a solution for financial issues. Furthermore, minors can’t be targeted by this kind of advertisement, as well as other vulnerable groups. Like in many other parts of the world, online gambling ads won’t be allowed between 6 am and 9 pm.

We already mentioned slot machines, which will also be under certain restrictions. From what we know so far, the max wagering fee will be €1.00 per spin. Also, each spin will have to last at least five seconds.

When it comes to sports betting, there won’t be too many limitations. We also know that live betting will be allowed as well, though this field is yet to be regulated.

What About Current Operators?

So far, German online gambling was unregulated but many operators were doing business for a pretty long time. From what we can hear, German authorities won’t prosecute them. There won’t be a witch hunt and these operators will get a chance to continue to offer their services. Of course, the only thing they will have to do is to gain the new license, issued by German authorities.

The new ISTG act will be in power in a few weeks, so we will find out how everything works in practice pretty soon.


After starting out as an affiliate in 2009 and developing some recognized review portals, I have moved deeper into journalism and media. My experience has lead me to move into the B2B sector and write about compliance updates and report around the happenings of the online and land based gaming sector.