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Gambling in Germany

Gambling is legal in all 16 states of Germany and is entirely state controlled. Since the early 2000s, gambling has taken off in Germany and the German government generates a substantial amount of tax income from its citizens’ desire to gamble.

Germany has a long history of gambling and in fact may be the birthplace of poker and the site of the first casino. In the middle ages, the Germans played a game called pochenspie that is very similar to poker and the first public casino opened in 1764. Gambling was considered illegal under the Nazi regime who considered it counterproductive to the war effort.

According to, there are 75 casinos in operation in Germany. Its casinos are heavily regulated in an attempt to prevent gamblers from becoming addictive.
A January 2008 law forbade online gambling in any form in Germany. The ban prohibits all traditional online casino games as well as sports betting, online bingo and online lotteries.

German lawmakers defended the law by saying it was put in place to protect Germans from the perils of online gaming. Critics say the law was enacted so states could safeguard the state-controlled gambling industry. They also point out that the law is in contrast to an existing European Union law that specifically allows online gambling. Several legal challenges have been formed as a result.

Despite strict control and the illegal status of online gambling, it appears to be very popular in Germany. Profits have steadily increased over the past decade and interest has skyrocketed.