The German government added to its new online gambling laws implemented last October, which caused one of the largest online poker sites in the world to drastically change its offering to players in the country.
The government created a new turnover tax of 5.3%. This is in addition to the rules introduced last fall, when German nationals were not allowed to play at more than four tables by depositing more than € 1 per month on the site or choose their own seat at the cash tables.
According to the PokerStars blog, this tax is levied on the buy-in, meaning operators will be taxed according to how much the player is sitting at the table. For every € 100 a player from Germany sits on, PokerStars will pay € 5 30 to the German government.
The new tax went into effect on July 1, and PokerStars has responded by increasing its commission and eliminating high-stakes offers from German players. It should be noted that most of Germany's top professionals have already left the country and settled elsewhere in the European Union due to unfavorable tax regulations on gambling winnings.
German players will be able to stay on the main network and play against the "Rest of the World" pool, but they will be treated very differently to other players on it.
For ring games, the highest stakes offered to Germany will be the $ 1 to $ 2 Pot Limit and the No Limit games and the $ 3 and $ 6 limit games. The commission in limit games was increased by 35%, while in the big wagers games the commission was increased by 25%.
This leads to a segregation of the commission structure. If the pot is split between a German player and a non-German player, the German player will pay more rake than the other player to compensate for the new government tax.
Tournaments will remain largely unaffected by this new policy, but heads-up sit n 'go, sit n' go satellites and many of the sit n 'go hyperturbo formats will no longer be offered. The highest spin & gos rates are € 50. However, it looks like German players should still be able to play the entire list of multi-table tournaments offered on the site.
The last major change on the site for German players is that, sitting at the table, they have to play a certain number of hands before they get up and leave the game. If they do not comply with this rule, they will be penalized for not being able to return to the table for a certain period of time.
The Stars Rewards program will be slightly devalued for Germans and will have to go through more stringent verification processes when making withdrawals.