Published: 13 September, 2023

Germany: The growing popularity of iCasino

Mark Seibert is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of - the platform for iCasino related news and reviews in Germany. Seibert spoke to Trafficology about the German iCasino market

How saturated is the German online casino market? Who are the big players?
A lot has changed since the regulation of the German gambling market by the Joint Gambling Authority of the Federal States (“GGL” - Gemeinsame Glücksspielbehörde der Länder) in Halle. Companies such as Merkur or Novomatic, which had withdrawn from the German market, are back. More than 40 companies are currently on the white list of GGL and the number is growing. Many of them operate more than just an online casino site with virtual slot games.

Nevertheless, I am convinced that the market is not yet saturated. Among the big players in the industry are companies such as Merkur (Gauselmann) with Merkur Spiel, Novoline and Löwen Play, which now operate virtual casinos in addition to local arcades. In addition, almost all well-known sports betting providers such as Bwin, Tipico, Bet-At-Home or NetBet are again active in the field of virtual slot machines.
Among the strong pure online casinos are Wunderino and StarGames. Local state-owned casino operators such as Sächsische Spielbanken GmbH & Co KG have also decided to enter the online business. The range of providers has therefore become larger, although the range of games is currently limited exclusively to online slots.

How much of a problem is people betting on German online casinos from illegal jurisdictions? Such as surrounding areas where gambling with offshore operators is illegal? And how popular is this?
Online gambling may only be offered in Germany with state permission and is only available if you are a resident there. Players who try to access a provider with a German licence outside of Germany will be informed via IP blocking that this is not allowed. If available, it is possible to redirect to the provider’s international casino site. All websites of online casinos with a German licence usually end with .de, whereas the international providers have a .com ending in the URL.
In terms of security, data and player protection, a provider with a GGL licence is the ultimate for German players. However, the game selection is not yet so large due to the strict requirements that apply to German online casinos. But work is already underway in many places to be able to offer a more extensive slot machine portfolio.
Especially popular now are the machines known from local casinos. Games like Eye of Horus from Merkur or the classic Book of Ra from Novoline. These were not allowed to be played online before government regulation.

How different are iGaming regulations in the 16 different states in Germany? Does the popularity of iCasino also vary, largely depending on the state?
As the name suggests, the Joint Gambling Authority of the Länder in Halle is responsible for all states within Germany when it comes to gambling on the internet. The decisions, conditions and provisions made at the GGL are binding on all. There are no differences between the individual federal states. A GGL licence is only available if the provider fulfils all requirements and regulations. Control over compliance with all regulations is also the responsibility of the regulatory authority.
Online gambling is particularly popular in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg and Hesse. But also in all other federal states, gambling is very popular with online providers. Often, a combination portal is chosen, where both sports betting and virtual slot machines are available. Gambling portals that are engaged in active marketing or have already achieved a certain level of notoriety are especially in demand.

Revenue in the German online gambling market is projected to reach €5bn ($5.36bn) in 2023; how much of this would you say the online casino sector takes up?
In my opinion, about a third of total turnover in the online gambling market will fall on the online casino sector. The rest is divided between sports betting, online poker, lotteries and a few other more small areas. For example, the game restrictions imposed by the GGL on the providers of virtual slot machines limit the stakes per spin to €1. Also, auto-spins are not allowed and the monthly deposit limit is set at €1,000. These measures serve to improve player protection and prevent gambling addiction. However, for online casino operators, this also means possible declines in sales. The fact that there is no longer any online roulette and blackjack is also noticeable in the turnover. Still, it’s a rewarding business.

What are the most popular forms of iGaming in Germany? Is iCasino at the top or the bottom of that popularity scale?
According to various statistics, sports betting is the number one online gambling game in Germany. In second place are the internet gambling halls with virtual slot games, followed by lottery providers and online poker. Meanwhile, the regulated market brings in much of the revenue for gambling operators.
As already mentioned, if a provider can offer its customers both sports betting and online slot machines, it is perfectly positioned. However, with such combination portals, the focus is often more on the sports sector than on the casino sector, which is sometimes somewhat neglected. So, if you don’t have anything to do with sports betting, I recommend looking for a pure online casino that focuses exclusively on slot machine games. Under certain circumstances, you can expect better casino bonus offers and promotions such as slot tournaments where cash can be won.

What is the future of online casinos in Germany?
I think the current State Treaty on Gambling and the founding of the GGL have created a solid foundation for online gambling in Germany. Because of these principles, future developments in this sector can continue to be monitored and regulated. In this respect, I believe Germany is well prepared for the future.
From a technical point of view, serious changes are already underway as far as internet casinos and the online industry, in general, are concerned. Keywords are metaverse and virtual reality. Instead of sitting in front of a screen, you will be able to go to the casino with your own avatar in a virtual world and gamble. Although the big players in the IT industry are already preparing for this change, the topic is still in its infancy. It will take some time before a sizable and fully functioning virtual reality casino can be visited. For me, however, it is clear that online gambling is always in great demand.

What iCasino games are most popular and why is this?
Online, the most popular games are slots, because they are made for the internet. In the production of new games, developers can let off steam thematically and the programmers and designers can give free reign to their creativity. Online slot machines are partly visual treats, but the special thing is the excitement and thrill that arises when you reach the bonus rounds or other features where lucrative winnings are possible. A good online slot offers a lot of variety, excellent graphical quality and is fun to play.

Do you think the future of betting will solely end up online or do you think there will always be room for the land-based sector?
I am firmly convinced there will still be real casinos in the future. A virtual world cannot replace the real one. A visit to a local casino is a special experience for most people, because there is a very special atmosphere that can only be found there. Nevertheless, I believe we will spend even more time on the internet in the future or later in the metaverse. Visiting a virtual casino online is becoming the norm, but we certainly won’t want to miss out on the opportunity to take a seat at the roulette table in a real casino with real croupiers and fellow players.