eSports betting websites in Germany – technically illegal?

Betting and gambling activities in Germany are technically illegal when we look at it from a foreigner’s perspective. But if we look at it as a local, we see that pretty much nothing is restraining German players from placing bets online, with foreign regulated entities.

However, there are some laws connected to not only online slots, but eSports betting websites in Germany as well. And the law doesn’t discriminate. All types of gambling are outlawed in the country, but no citizen will have legal repercussions against them if they use a foreign service. The ban is most worrisome for the companies that want to operate from Germany.

Up until now, there have been no legal charges against a German gambler or sports betting enthusiast, leading us to believe that the law isn’t enforced that much in the country. There used to be a few states that allowed a few dozen operators to base their operations there but, it was quickly scrapped when a new government was formed.

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The German legal back and forth

The legal issues in Germany are a constant back and forth on a state level. On the federal level they never really change, but states sometimes can make amendments in their local regulations and allow a couple of operators to cater to their local populations. But these laws quickly get revoked once new governments come in place. It seems that a very small percentage of the German population approves of gambling, as every time it was tried to be legalized, an overwhelming majority of the government, as well as the population, was against it. This was criticised many times by the European Gaming & Betting Association, which supports a more open and legal gambling market across the EU, and Germany is in direct contradiction of that notion. But as you can see, no real push can move Germans to change their minds.

how to bet on eSports in Germany

But as already mentioned in the intro, eSports betting in Germany and pretty much any other gambling activity is OK for the citizens. It’s the companies that can’t step foot inside. If you’re a German citizen and want to place bets online, nothing is really holding you back. All you need to do is find a regulated and licensed company from pretty much anywhere in the world and place the bet, and there will be no legal action against you.

eSports industry in Germany

Esports was always an industry which was hard to sell. By sell I mean that convincing an investor, who has nothing to do with video games, that some teenagers playing a game online are profitable, was practically impossible. However, Germany, South Korea and Poland were always at the forefront of promoting these activities to everybody willing to be involved.

Poland was one of the few places in Europe, where eSports fans could gather and avoid any outside prejudice, and simply enjoy the games they love so much. This was done in Katowice, which is quite close to Germany. However, Germans didn’t fall behind in this matter as well, they also formed their popular eSports hubs such as Leipzig, ESL Hamburg, ESL Frankfurt and DreamHack. All of which are now the most popular eSports event in Europe. The central Europeans really did come through for the eSports community.

eSports betting sites in Germany

When it comes to eSports betting in Germany though, there are no clear indications whether or not it’s thriving. This is due to vague statistics from foreign operators and most bettors preferring to not disclose the information for obvious reasons.

Nevertheless, eSports is here to stay in Germany and pretty much nothing can change it. The only real “competition” in terms of available venues and activities is Katowice and sometimes London, but the undisputed eSports centre of Europe is right here in Germany.

It’s the primary destination that most eSports betting websites want to go to, as it has a large population of potential customers. Should, Germany receives a regulated platform any time in the future, it will be swarmed by willing bookmakers.

What games do Germans bet on?

As already mentioned above, there are no clear indications about the German eSports betting habits. All we can do is speculate according to the number of players for specific games, as well as the percentage of the German population watching eSports.

What we know is around 44% of the country’s 16-24 year-olds have at some point watched eSports and are continuing to do so. That’s around 13 million people willing to take part in the industry, and some of them are players themselves. According to statistics, around 60% of German eSports fans watch CS: GO tournaments, 25% watch Dota 2, 15% watch League of Legends and the rest are varied.

But, naturally, there are very few eSports fans that watch just one game, so the numbers above could be completely wrong. So what eSports games should Germans bet on? Well, here’s a list of them all:

The list goes on and on. The only nations that could rival Germany in terms of eSports players they produce are South Korea and The United States of America.

As for the bets, Germans are recommended to place most of their eSports bets on CS: GO, as the tournaments usually happen locally, or in Katowice which is only an hour difference. Therefore, most players will have the opportunity to place bets and watch at the same time, during non-working hours or weekends.

How to choose an eSports betting website in Germany

As already mentioned above, all forms of online betting and gambling is restricted throughout Germany. There were some cases where some sportsbooks had a regulation, but it expired in 2018, and now nobody is considered as a legal German eSports betting website, or any gambling website for that matter.

However, you’ll remember that as a gambler yourself, you will not be legally held accountable by the government if you place bets online with foreign companies. Therefore you need to choose the best ones possible at your disposal. Since Germany is already located in the EU, it’s best to choose the ones that are most accepted.

The most customer-friendly regulations can be found on Malta, the Isle of Man and the UK. Therefore, going with a company that holds at least one of those licenses is the safest route to your betting needs. However, there are other factors at play here. Just the license is not enough to provide value on the industry standard. The website needs to have relative resources and customer benefits to truly stand out as the best one in the region. Here’s what you should look for when searching for an eSports betting site in Germany:

  • Regulation and license
  • Confirmed license by the regulator
  • eSports-focused platform
  • Industry standard bets and odds
  • Alternate payment methods.

Let’s dissect all of these factors in more detail so you get the scope of what you need to do.

Regulation and license

Once you’ve decided which regulator you’re looking for, it will be time to research the betting websites. In order to determine whether or not they hold the license. To do so, it’s sometimes enough to simply scroll down to the website’s footer and look above the social media links. There will be a small description which will tell you about the company. It might have information about the parent company of the operator, and should also have information about the registration number, address, license number, and regulatory information.

If you are unable to find that information in the footer, then you should visit the FAQ section. In most cases, that’s where most of the info about the operator is found. If it’s not there as well, then it should be a topic of concern. Because any eSports betting website in Germany or otherwise needs to clearly disclose information about their legal documents. If they try to hide it, it means they’re untrustworthy.

eSports betting Germany regulation

Anyway, once you find the information about the regulator and the license, it will be time to check it. If the company is regulated in Malta, then you should visit the Malta Gaming Authority’s website, if it is in the UK, then the UK Gambling Commission’s website should do the trick. You’ll need to input either the company’s name or the license number in the search engine. If you don’t see the result, it means that the company has lied about the license and it’s time to simply leave their platform.

If they do show up in the results, you need to look for either “regulated”, or “active” classifications. But once you do find them, make sure to contact the regulator and confirm that the info is correct. This needs to be done because some regulators forget or delay their database updates, and some revoked or outdated licenses remain on the webpage. Once you’ve confirmed that the license is active, it will be time to move to the next stage of the review.

eSports-focused platform

I don’t think it’s necessary to be said but, eSports betting in Germany needs to be done on an eSports betting website right? Therefore, it should be dissuading when you see a company promote itself as an eSports betting website, and only feature one game.

Most of the websites you find online will be hybrids of both eSports and sports. But if they have a mix of both, it’s fine as long as there are more eSports games.

The reason why this is important is resource allocation. If the operator finds out that their traditional sports betting is earning them more money, then they will introduce the best odds and options there and not on eSports. However, if the platform is eSports exclusive, then far more benefits are to be expected there.

It may sound unfair, but it does make some sense. Why should the operator risk their funds on a segment which they are not focusing on when they can divert all of those resources to their most popular games.

Betting options and odds

Odds are the most important part of the website. The betting options part is usually the same with every operator. They simply offer bets on who is going to win the match, and that’s about it. Although it’s best to have more options, it’s still good to focus on only one bet at a time.

When it comes to odds, eSports betting in Germany should be one of the most lucrative things in the world. Simply because most of the population watch CS: GO. The popular shooter has the highest odds when compared to other games, therefore it may earn you a lot more money than a risky bet on LoL or even Dota 2.

But you need to determine if they have industry standards first. Generally, if the platform has at least 5.0 odds for underdogs in any game, then it means they’re up to date with customer benefits. However, if the maximum you can find is 3.0, it may not be the best website to spend time on.

Because, imagine, that you have the option to bet on the same match but on different platforms. Where would you rather bet? A platform that will reward you 5 times what you bet if you’re successful, or the platform which will reward you 3 times as much? It’s the same risk but different reward, of course, you’d prefer the better payout.

Third party payments

Although we mentioned that there will be no legal action against you as a German eSports better, it’s still best to be cautious when it comes to payments.

You see, the German banks are strict as they are, but should the notice that you’ve made a transaction on a gambling platform, you can expect your credit score to plummet. This can cause difficulties in acquiring loans or mortgages in the future, so it’s best to avoid bank transfers all-together.

Thankfully, the majority of the online betting industry understands this and offers a plethora of depositing and withdrawing opportunities. The best ones you should look for are:

  • Skrill
  • PayPal
  • Paysafe
  • Bitcoin
  • Neteller

If the platform has at least one of the above-mentioned payment methods, then you’re safe to deposit and withdraw funds. The bank will most likely not find out where they came from or where they went. If you want maximum security though, it’s best to use Bitcoin as it’s pretty much a P2P transaction.

That’s about it!

Yes, that’s pretty much all you need to know about betting on eSports in Germany. All you have to do is find a website that accepts Euros as a currency and is licensed by a trustworthy regulator. Check the license, compare the odds with others and you’re free to register and bet as if you’re life depended on it.