5 Facts About the History and Current Gambling Climate in Germany

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History Current Gambling Germany

Along with many other cultural contributions, the Romans are responsible for the spread of gambling among the European continent. This also holds true for the country of Germany.

Gambling in Germany dates back to the time when the Roman Empire took over Germanic territories. Betting was a popular activity amongst Ancient Roman soldiers. So, wherever they went, so did their gambling habits.

Germany was the home to one of the earliest casinos known to exist.

Today, there are many online casinos for gamblers in Germany, and gambling has remained popular in Germany since its inception; however, it has not always been condoned by the ruling authorities of every era.

Germany has a rich and interesting history, and this is particularly true when it comes to their relationship with gambling. Keep reading below for facts about its gambling history.

1 – Two of the Oldest Casinos in the World Are in Germany

In 1810, the oldest casino in Germany was built, known as the Casino Wiesbaden. Not only is this the oldest casino in Germany, but it is one of the oldest gambling establishments in recorded history. This particular structure’s history actually dates back to Ancient Rome.

The modern structure that was built in 1810 was designed by architect Christian Zais. The historic mood of the Casino Wiesbaden includes statues dedicated to Greek mythology, very impressive chandeliers, and mosaic art.

However, in the past 100 years, the Casino Wiesbaden really started being a popular tourist attraction. Before then, casinos were met with some adversity because in 1872, all the casinos in Germany were closed.

In an attempt to unify Germany, casinos were again open for business in 1933. Then, the onset of WWII led to the German government’s inability to regulate any type of gambling establishments. So, once again, the casinos in Germany were closed.

The closing of the casinos made gambling a street activity amongst the German people, and casinos such as this one remained closed until 1950.

Today, this casino is visited heavily by tourists and gamblers. Even though the building is old, the design and architectural elements inside are impeccable and timeless. The Casino Wiesbaden has almost 200 slot machines now. Roulette, blackjack, and baccarat are available for anyone who loves playing classic table games.

The Kurhaus of Baden-Baden is also a German casino with a rich history. The Kurhaus was built in 1824 by famed architect Friedrich Weinbrenner who is also responsible for the design of its Corinthian columns.

Today, the Kurhaus of Baden-Baden is an extremely popular tourist spot for both gamblers and non-gamblers alike.

2 – The Gambling Climate Changed After World War 2

With the end of World War 2, Germany saw many changes in their society. There was now a new constitution in place and casinos were once again to be opened. However, gambling was to be regulated by the individual states in the West.

These new gambling laws were mainly geared towards sports betting and lotteries. The effect these laws had on German casinos was that they restricted who could play at the gambling establishments, and many of the casinos required proof of residency in order to gamble there.

By 1995, these restrictions were completely lifted. In the late 20th century, the German government acknowledged the lucrative nature of gambling as a whole. Gambling once again became a respected institution but still faced many challenges.

The German government attempted to monopolize the gambling industry in their country. The European Union saw this happening and put an end to it. They made sure Germany allowed private companies and individuals to open gambling establishments within their country.

The state of sports betting in Germany was considered a monopoly as well, and this led to more intervention by the European Union in 2006.

Today, sports betting is extremely popular in Germany, and this is especially true of online sports betting. Now, private companies and individuals own gambling establishments on German soil, but most of the gambling establishments are owned and operated by the government.

3 – Online Sports Betting Is Extremely Popular

With online sports betting being a rather new frontier, it has gained popularity all over the globe. Germany is no exception to this and Germans love betting on sports.

The FIFA World Cup has been won four times by Germany, and it is no wonder that soccer is a popular sport not only to watch but to bet on in the country. 80% of all sports bets in Germany are on soccer. Other popular sports that are bet on include tennis, handball, and ice hockey.

However, with the popularity of online sports betting rising in Germany, comes the need for the law to adapt. Many bookmakers have taken advantage of the fact that laws are not clear when it comes to online sports betting in Germany, which is evidenced by the existence of so many German sportsbooks.

Bwin, headquartered in Vienna, is a company that has opened the door for other sports bookmakers. Bwin was founded in 2007 and, within one year, Bwin had its first online gambling site up and running. One of the most compelling parts of the development of Bwin is their development and implementation of their live betting products.

The live betting features of Bwin allow players to bet on live sporting events while they are in play. The German Government saw the popularity and growth of business for Bwin and decided to restrict it from operating in Germany.

This ended up in a lawsuit where Bwin won and was allowed to operate in Germany, accepting both online and offline bets on sports. Today, online sports betting in Germany is considered a gray market.

4 – The Number of Gambling Facilities Is Approaching 400

With gambling being legal in Germany, there is now no shortage of gambling facilities in the country. There are almost 400 gambling establishments in Germany today. This includes more than just land-based casinos.

Cruise ships and racetracks are also in use and are extremely popular in Germany. Most land-based casinos are in resorts or hotels. The German population seems to love poker and a wide variety of poker games are offered at German casinos, including Seven-Card Stud, Omaha, and Texas Hold‘em.

The gambling age for casinos varies from casino to casino. The legal age can be anywhere from 18 to 21 years of age. German casinos are known for their strict enforcement of a dress code and many casinos require men to wear a tie.

Of course, sports betting continues to gain popularity in Germany and lottery games are also extremely popular. Some of the most popular lottery games include EuroMillions and keno.

5 – The Convenience of Online Gambling Has Made Germans Avid Gamblers

Everyone knows that online gambling is much more convenient than going to a land-based casino. Because of this, it is no surprise that Germans who usually would have never gambled are now doing so due to the convenience of online casinos.

The world of online casinos has become a very competitive one and has led to online casinos offering huge incentives for people to sign up with them. This mainly comes in the form of signup bonuses.

Online casinos offer many progressive jackpots that can make anyone a big winner right from the comfort of their own home.

Everyone that wants to gamble in Germany may not have the luxury of taking time out of their lives to travel all the way to a land-based casino. And others may not have the ability to buy clothes that adhere to dress codes enforced at German land-based casinos.

These are also reasons as to why online casinos have become such a popular option in Germany and have made gamblers out of people who otherwise would not have become avid gamblers.


Germany, just like many other countries around the world, has had its ups and downs with gambling and how to regulate it. Online gambling will continue to be a challenging terrain for the German government to maneuver.

However, this challenging situation is advantageous for online betting companies and online gamblers in Germany.

Did you enjoy reading about gambling in Germany? If so, let me know in the comments.

Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...

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