Is matched betting legal in Europe?

Sports betting legal - the betting provider license

The subject of "legality" is always hotly debated in sports betting. Especially in Germany the legal situation is rather vague, basically you've been in a gray area for years. We bring light into the dark, discuss the development in recent years as well as the current status and explain which factors you can use to identify a reputable bookmaker. And we ask the questions "Are sports bets legal?„.

Are sports bets allowed in Germany?

In the court there is a notebook with sports betting - are bets legal?

First of all, we can give the all-clear: Yes, sports bets are allowed in Germany! The situation is, however, a little complicated. Until 2011, there was only one legal provider by law, the state-owned one Betting provider Oddset. Since then, under pressure from the European Court of Justice, the state has opened up to the market and granted around 20 private bookmakers a German betting license.

However, this only lost value a little later, because the betting providers who did not receive a license filed a lawsuit and got the right - the licensing procedure was overturned. Since then, sports betting has not been strictly legal in Germany under German law. European law, on the other hand, says otherwise, and because it is above German law in this case, bets are allowed in Germany - sounds strange, but it's reality!

Development of the legal situation of sports betting

Until 2011, the state provider Oddset had a monopoly in this country. Since this was not compatible with European law, the European Court of Justice demanded that the law be amended in the same year. Then the following happened: The German state issued gambling licenses through the Hessian Ministry of the Interior reputable betting providersthat met certain criteria - so far, so good. However, this in turn called those betting providers on the scene who did not receive a German betting license. It happened as it had to: the bookmakers that were not considered went to court, the law was overturned.

Since then, the German license has still been a kind of “seal of approval”, but it does not play a major role in terms of the legality of a bookmaker. Because even bookmakers who have not received a German license are legal. Namely when you get a gambling license from another European country. Malta and Gibraltar are pioneers.

In June 2021, however, the new gaming contract should come to a uniform regulation. Then will German betting providers such as Tipico or bet-at-home officially licensed in Germany, at the same time various changes are planned to protect players and reduce the risk of gambling. We are curious to see what the new contract will look like in the end, because so far the betting providers have repeatedly managed to find loopholes and legally circumvent restrictive regulations.

You can find them all here Betting provider with license in Germany.

The introduction of the 5% betting tax

The Betting tax is controversial in the betting scene. This is hardly surprising, because every bet made is a bet 5% fee raised. The profits are correspondingly lower. Only a few bookmakers make an exception, take over the tax in favor of their customers and transfer it to the German state. The bets are still legally correctly taxed.

Betting provider Tipico does not charge any tax and advertises it

The betting tax, which was legally anchored in 2012, has a positive effect on the perception of sports betting in Germany. Because the state benefits from tax revenue from sports betting, which has taken a little wind out of the sails of its critics

This is behind the betting providers

As in every other industry, there are also black sheep with betting providers who work dubiously. When it comes to sports betting, it is precisely these providers that discredit an entire industry. We would therefore like to dispel a widespread prejudice and state: Most betting providers are reputable companies, some of which are backed by large holdings. Some bookmakers are even listed on the stock exchange. Especially with those bookmakers who have been in business for a little longer, there are no concerns about their seriousness from ours.

Features from a reputable betting company

In the previous section, we touched on the black sheep in the betting industry. We have put together a few seriousness features that you can use to check for yourself whether the respective betting provider is to be assessed as serious or rather dubious.

Imprint: Check the bookmaker's website to see if they have an imprint there. If you find no or strange information about the location of your bookie, we advise against the betting provider, because it seems that he has something to hide.

Combating gambling addiction: Good betting providers provide help in the area of ​​gambling addiction on their website and provide information on Gambling addiction prevention. For most of them, you can also set individual limits and block your account for different periods of time.

Customer support: In the event of problems, good customer support should be available to provide advice and assistance. The fastest way to do this today is via live chat. Customer-friendly, competent employees answer inquiries quickly.

Payment methods: Both Payment methods Not only is the selection of options relevant, withdrawals should also be processed quickly. In addition: A good bookmaker does not charge any fees on a deposit.

Sponsorship: the best bookmakers appear as sponsors of football clubs, associations, sports clubs or events. A high degree of seriousness is given here, even if exceptions unfortunately repeatedly confirm the rule.

Livestreams: Good bookmakers offer a variety Live streams at. In order to acquire the necessary usage fees, a few nice sums have to be paid. Accordingly, those bookmakers should have sufficient budget, which in turn speaks for their liquidity.

Betting license: Every bookie who wants to offer bets legally needs a betting license. The German betting license is an additional seal of approval, even if a European license is sufficient to be recognized as a legal bookmaker.

Frequent betting provider licenses at a glance

There are various betting licenses that authorize a bookmaker to legally offer sports betting. We have looked at the individual betting licenses in detail and will briefly introduce them in the following sections.

Malta Gaming Authority

MAG is a regulator in Malta that issues gambling licenses for casinos, slot machines and bookmakers. The MAG has existed since 2001, its task is to regulate and monitor gambling providers in Malta. It can withdraw licenses in the event of violations and levy fines. The Malta Gaming Authority also works with the Maltese police for this purpose.

Gambling Commission

The Gambling Commission is responsible for overseeing and regulating gambling in the UK. It is based in Birmingham and reports to the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Protecting the players is their main task. This includes, among other things, the prevention of criminal activities. The commission can also issue licenses for bookmakers from home and abroad.


In addition to Malta, Gibraltar is the state that probably issues the most licenses in the field of sports betting. Before a license is granted, the betting providers are extensively checked on their financial background. The following applies to online casinos: Only if the casino games have previously been tested by an independent institution with a positive result will they receive a license from Gibraltar.


Even if the island of Curacao is located in the Caribbean, the gambling authority located there is allowed to issue gambling licenses, because Curacao is part of the Netherlands Antilles. The Curacao gaming authority is one of the oldest licensors in an international comparison. Various bookmakers get their license from Curacao, even if it will probably be less than in the case of Malta.

License from Schleswig-Holstein

The German state of Schleswig-Holstein said goodbye to the German state gambling treaty in 2012 and granted its own license to bookmakers in accordance with current EU law. The government in Berlin didn't like that very much, but the licenses were still awarded to the following providers:

  • 888 Germany Ltd. (888sport experiences)
  • Admiral Sportwetten GmbH
  • bet90 Ltd.
  • Internet Ltd. (bet-at-home experiences)
  • Cashpoint Malta Ltd. (Cashpoint experiences)
  • Electraworks (Kiel) Ltd. (bwin experiences)
  • IBA Entertainment Ltd. (Bet3000 experiences)
  • Interwetten Gaming Ltd. (Interwetten experiences)
  • Ladbrokes International PLC (Ladbrokes Experiences)
  • Nordbet GmbH
  • NordwestLotto Schleswig-Holstein GmbH & Co. KG (Oddset experiences)
  • OnGoingMedia GmbH
  • Personal Exchange International Ltd.
  • Polco Ltd. (betfair experiences)
  • Primebet International Ltd.
  • RULEO Alpenland GmbH
  • Spread Your Wings Germany Ltd.
  • Tipico Company Ltd. (Tipico experiences)
  • Trading Technologies Ltd.
  • Victor Chandler (International) Ltd. (BetVictor experiences)
  • Wettenleip GmbH
  • World of Sportsbetting Ltd.

New gambling contract 2021

With the entry of the new gaming contract in June 2021, it is planned that the German state issues its own gaming licenses to providers. However, then only one division per provider is allowed, according to the plan. A bookmaker who previously also had an online casino on offer would then have to do without it. The contract provides for further changes and restrictions. The The maximum possible monthly turnover per player should be 1,000 euros. This is to prevent addiction-prone customers from wasting too much money in a short period of time. In addition, it should no longer be possible to have betting accounts with several bookmakers. However, it seems questionable whether this can be implemented in reality. There are also plans to abolish over / under bets for German customers and to restrict the range of live bets. Here, too, we are skeptical whether this is possible in practice.

What could the future hold?

Should the gambling contract actually become a reality with the planned changes, the field of betting providers will probably thin out. Because one thing is certain: both the stake limit and the restriction on betting options will primarily affect the small bookmakerswho have to fear considerable losses. So the market will likely focus on the big, renowned bookmakers.

But: We don't want to dare to predict whether the 2021 gaming contract will actually be implemented as it is currently planned. Because contracts have already been overturned in the past or loopholes have made it possible for betting providers to easily circumvent new regulations.

Conclusion - sports betting is legal in Germany

Even if the legal situation regarding sports betting in Germany is quite opaque, they are legal. Officially, betting may only be made with the “Staats-Bookie” Oddest, but European law says something different, and in this case takes precedence over German law.

So you don't have to worry about placing bets, as long as your bookmaker has a betting license. The new gaming contract 2021 promises changes in licensing, which should also bring some restrictions for bookmakers and players. It remains questionable whether the planned changes will all be implemented in the end. We will continue to follow what is happening with interest and will give an update if there is any news!

FAQ - questions and answers

Are sports betting legal in Germany?

Yes, as long as the betting provider has a betting license. In Germany, only bets are actually allowed with the state provider Oddset, but a monopoly position contradicts European law. In this case, European law takes precedence over German law, which is why sports betting is also legal for players in Germany.

Are there different betting licenses for sports betting?

Yes, in addition to a German betting license, there are different licenses for gambling. These come, for example, from authorities in Malta, Gibraltar and Curacao and all ensure that a bookmaker is allowed to offer bets legally.

Are betting providers serious at all?

Most betting providers can be classified as serious. But: In the betting industry there are black sheep as in every other branch of the economy. In this article, we present a few features that you can use to check the seriousness of a bookie. In addition to a betting license, this includes a proper imprint on the bookmaker's website.

What is the new 2021 gambling contract?

The new gambling contract 2021 is intended to bring clarity to the vague legal situation in Germany when it comes to sports betting. Then not only should new betting licenses be distributed, changes with regard to a turnover limit per customer and further adjustments are also planned.