Poker in Germany: Legal or Illegal

Hector Toby February 6, 2016 Comments Off on Poker in Germany: Legal or Illegal
Poker in Germany: Legal or Illegal

Even as people talk about the unregulated space that is the Internet, there are quite a few regulations in place when it comes to online casinos especially in countries such as Germany. Of course, these regulations are not limited to the online world or even to online bit casinos, they can also be applied to the broader perspective of poker in Germany itself. So is poker in Germany legal or illegal? Here is delving into a few aspects.

Let’s start with the online world

Online bitcoin casinos are popping up everywhere and the advent and popularity of bitcoin gambling has indeed ensured that more and more people can benefit from playing poker in live casinos all over the world. Online poker in Germany however is controlled by a variety of laws and as on date, a German website cannot offer poker to Germans when it comes to online gambling. Bitcoin casinos and bitcoin gambling are pretty new phenomena but Germans have to go to international websites to enjoy their gaming experience.

The laws

Germany, from the year 2008 has banned all forms of online gaming and betting. This is further characterized by:

  • Coming into effect because of the German interstate treaty
  • From the year 2012, casino operators are allowed to apply for an online gambling license in only one state in Germany – Schleswig-Holstein – which allows online gambling

Where can you play poker?

Only the state casinos in Germany are allowed to host various kinds of games and tournaments of poker. However, small stakes, home games and a few rare instances of non-state casinos hosting poker games can also be found. The legality of bitcoin gambling and even poker tournaments are related to the buy ins. For instance, the German Federal Administrative Court ruled in 2014 that buy ins of around €15 is not illegal gambling.  If you are looking for some additional privacy when gambling, you can try visiting one of the online casinos that offer a high degree of anonymity. The best example would be perhaps to use a certain online casino, just like the well-known, a place where you can make a deposit using bitcoins.

Taxable winnings

The interesting debate of whether poker is a game of skill or a game of chance has played a huge role here because till the year 2010, Germany considered poker to be a game of chance. Therefore, winnings were not taxable. But today, professional poker players choose to reside in other countries so that they can avoid paying income taxes. General rule of thumb is that your winnings will not be taxable as long as poker is not your chief source of earnings.

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