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Nordrhein-Westfalen is the last state to approve the German State Treaty

The parliament of the German state of Nordrhein-Westfalen has become the final state to approve the German Interstate Treaty on Gambling (ISTG 2021), which will now take effect in all 16 federal states from July 1 2021.

Background

In March 2020, the German federal states had agreed on a new German Interstate Treaty on Gambling that still needed to be ratified by the individual federal state parliaments.

The new legislation aims at expanding Germany’s nationwide iGaming offerings beyond online betting to online casino games. An earlier attempt having already failed in the past, it was not clear whether the federal states would be able to agree on a new unified regulation for a long time.

“This state treaty was a Herculean task and, as a result, is a strong sign of how federalism lives and functions in Germany and how it comes to the right results through sometimes arduous negotiations[..] needs and concerns for the benefit of all 16 states were considered”, said Prime Minister Armin Laschet.

A year and a month later, the treaty has just been fully ratified by all 16 individual federal state parliaments with the parliament of Nordrhein-Westfalen just approving the legislation, making it the sixteenth and final state to do so.

Controversial regulations

Despite the apparent consensus, certain parts of the treaty have been controversial, particular around the requirements for virtual slot machines.

The treaty provides that a slot game must last at least five seconds with a 1€ limit per spin, stakes and wins may not be used to build up a jackpot. Besides, online slots and poker will also be subject to a 5.3% turnover tax.

Finally, live sports betting will be restricted to bets on the final result or next scorer.

It also mandates monthly financial limits for all users, set by the players themselves. The legislation will become effective starting July 15, 2021.

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