The implementation of new tax laws in Germany has led to more online poker operators cutting their services in the country, the latest of which is PokerStars. The online poker giant has decided to terminate all of its medium- and high-stakes cash games, as well as some Spin & Go and Sit & Go offerings for its German customers.
The German national parliament, the Bundestag, proceeded to give the green light to a controversial new rollover tax which will be imposed on online poker and online slots. This was done despite strong opposition from gaming operators and industry bodies which have termed the new 5.3% rollover tax as “excessive” and would only drive players to unregulated sites.
The same issue prompted two lobbying groups, the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA), as well as the Deutsche Sportwettenverband (DSWV), to file separate formal state aid complaints with the European Commission. Both industry bodies argue that the levy gives the country’s land-based operators an unfair advantage over their online counterparts.
The new 5.3% rollover tax came into effect on July 1 and so far one major poker operator Unibet Poker has partially pulled out of the German market.
PokerStars Removes Higher Stakes Cash Games
The latest online poker site to officially announce that they’re reducing their services in the country is PokerStars. These latest changes expected to have a significant impact on cash game traffic. Explaining the move, PokerStars said it is no longer viable for them to run higher stakes cash games in Germany.
Effective July 1, the highest cash game stakes that German customers can play at PokerStars will be $1/$2 for No-Limit Hold’em, Pot-Limit Omaha, and other NL/PL cash games; $2/$2 for 6+ No-Limit Hold’em; $1/$2.50/$5 for Tempest; and $3/$6 for Fixed Limit Games.
Some single-table tournament offerings at PokerStars will also have their maximum stakes cut, or be removed altogether. With the changes now in effect, PokerStars is now offering their German customers a maximum stake of $50 for their popular jackpot-style Spin & Go’s.
PokerStars has also completely removed their Heads-Up Sit & Go tables, as well as majority of their Sit & Go Satellites in the German market. Similar changes apply to many of PokerStars’ Hyper Turbo Sit & Go offerings.
German players will still have access to most of PokerStars’ Turbo and Regular Speed Sit & Go’s. The site has also not introduced any changes yet to their multi-table tournaments.