German Lotto Betting

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Gambling has long been legal in Germany and, for much of its history, local state authorities had the right to regulate lotteries within their jurisdictions. However, in early 2008, the country’s 16 federal states gave up much autonomy with the promulgation of the German Gambling Monopoly created under a new State Treaty on Gaming.

The Treaty placed a total ban on Internet gaming and gave the central government a complete monopoly on the country’s lottery system. For many years, the German Bundestag (federal parliament) resisted calls for opening up its lotteries to private operators and, in 2011, the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig, Germany’s highest court, issued “a de facto ban on advertising by state controlled or private lotto and casino operators.”

Nevertheless, one historic local lottery able to survive the shifting regulations was the North West German Class Lottery (NKL), which dates back to 1612, making it one of the world’s oldest lotteries. In its present form, the NKL was established in 1947 as a state lottery operated by a consortium of ten German states.

In early 2012, bowing to protests by other EU nations, Germany at last agreed to revise its State Treaty on Gaming and release some control of the monopolized industries back to the states. As a result, the NKL and its six-state counterpart known as the South German Class Lottery (SKL) formed a new umbrella organisation in July—the Gemeinsame Klassenlotterie (GKL). In 2013, the GKL is expected to “bring a new addition to the existing offer lottery products on the market.”

For the time being, Germany’s most prominent lotto product remains German Lotto 6/49. This traditional lotto draw-style, progressive jackpot game has been offered since 1974, ranking it among the oldest and richest of Europe’s lottery games. It follows a “pick 6 of 49 numbers” format and currently pays out up to €2.8 billion to lottery players annually.

German Lotto 6/49 starts with a guaranteed €1 million jackpot and the average top prize awarded over the years has been €5.24 million. The largest jackpot ever paid out was €45.38 million in December 2007; it was shared by three lucky winners. The biggest individual winner was awarded €37.68 million on 7 October 2006.

In order to claim the top prize, a ticket must have 6 matching numbers out of the 49 plus an additional “super number” from 0 to 9. Although the probability of winning the jackpot has been calculated at 1:139,000,000, German Lotto 6/49 has developed a reputation for lively increases in prizes well worth a wager; that’s thanks to the roll over of unclaimed funds every time the jackpot is not won.

Players have the option of picking their own numbers for each play or having them randomly generated by choosing a “Quick Pick” option. Winning numbers are drawn twice weekly, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Additional games such as Super 6, Game 77 and the Glücksspirale are also offered.

One recent study has estimated that some 2.2 million Germans gamble regularly. But participation in German Lotto 6/49 has been broadened even further by non-German online gaming sites. For example, Dublin-based Paddy Power allows wagering on “German Lucky Numbers,” a game which is based upon the six number draw, but excluding the super number. As few as 1, 2, 3 or 4 numbers may be selected at odds of 6-to-1, 60-to-1, 650-to-1 and 7,200-to-1, respectively.

Oddly enough, Germany does not have a single national lottery draw venue. Instead, the draws rotate throughout the various regions of the country, namely: Baden-Württemberg, Bayern, Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Hessen, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Niedersachsen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Rheinland-Pfalz, Saarland, Sachsen, Sachsen-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein and Thüringen.

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