Entain Receives Online Poker License in Germany


The British operator has secured a permit for its Bwin, Ladbrokes, and SportingBet brands to offer online gaming in the country.


Entain Gets First Online Poker License in Germany Since 2020 Regulation

When Germany introduced their new Interstate Treaty concerning online gambling in the spring of 2020, many poker fans were worried. Prior to that, all the major poker sites could operate with relative ease in the largest European economy. However, with the freshly announced, stricter rules and the requirement of a license from the newly founded Joint Gambling Authority (based in the only online gambling-friendly state before the new legislation, Saxony-Anhalt), all of that seemingly came to an end.

And as time passed, German poker players got even more bad news. As the new legislation came into effect in July 2021, many major online poker sites, such as PokerStars and Unibet, halted all their cash game offerings. That is because they knew that they would have had to charge exuberant rates in rake to keep up with the mandated 5.3% turnover tax on all buy-ins… 

But now, it’s finally time for some good news. The British online gambling operator Entain PLC has just become the first company to receive a license to host online poker games in Germany since the new rules were set in place.

Entain’s best known poker brand is partypoker. However, they didn’t receive the internet poker license for that skin. Rather, German players will be able to play cards on the sites Ladbrokes, Bwin, and SportingBet. The company has previously secured permission to operate online sportsbooks under the same brands. Meanwhile, German-state owned casino Sächsische Spielbanken got the first online slot licenses earlier this month.

These licenses only expire after 5 years. Entain’s chief governance officer Robert Hoskin had this to say about the welcome developments:

“It is an important and welcome step towards achieving the goal of a fully regulated online betting and gaming market in Germany. Only through such regulation and its enforcement will we avoid the reality of customers going to the black market where there are none of the safeguards that reputable operators such as Entain guarantee.”

In related news, PokerStars has lost a lawsuit in Germany: they are now obligated to pay back a player the €58,000 he lost on poker and slots on their site since they failed to inform him properly that it was not licensed in the country at the time.

New Golden Age for German Poker?

In the past decade, we’ve seen a whole generation of players come out of Germany and dominate the high roller poker scene. Think of the likes of Fedor Holz, Christoph Vogelsang, Stefan Schillhabel, or Rainer Kempe. With the new online gambling legislation, the future of the next generation of elite cardplayers from the country has also been threatened. 

Hopefully, Entain figures out how to run an online poker room successfully and with a wide appeal under the new German rules, and thus gives opportunities to new “Fedor Holzes” to step up.

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