Posted: May 6, 2022, 7:21 am.
Last updated: May 6, 2022, 10:11 am.
Germany’s online gaming market has its first entry, long after the arrival of the Fourth Interstate Gambling Treaty. A national operator will launch the first online slot machine platform, while other gaming options remain off the table.
Reichstag Parliament Building in Berlin, Germany. The country now has its first online gaming operator, but only slot machines will be available. (Image: Flickr)
The German Ministry of the Interior (MoI) of Saxony-Anhalt has issued the first official license for the operation of online slot machines. According to the White List of Gaming Operators of the State Administration Office, updated on May 5, the first licensee is Mernov Betriebsgesellschaft mbH. The entity is a subsidiary of the Gaussman group’s gaming company.
In the future, Mernov will offer virtual slot games through its JackpotPiraten and BingBong brands. This is the first choice of online gaming in the country, with most operators avoiding spending and restrictive rules.
Germany enters online slot machines
The Ministry of Investigation had already confirmed in March that it had agreed to a first license, according to local media. Which provider received a license, however, remained hidden. Mernov’s website, on the other hand, has been in the starting blocks since last year.
Gauselmann’s subsidiary advertises “premium brands for a unique online gaming experience,” as well as “serious gaming entertainment at the highest level.” As can be seen on the still sparsely populated website, the company is currently still hiring staff to prepare for the launch.
Mernov also indicates what games future customers can expect on the platforms. In addition to an advertising image of the well-known Merkur Eye of Horus title, there is talk of cooperation with “the most well-known game developers in the international gaming industry.” However, Gauselmann’s internal slot machines should be among the first games.
The company already promises a range of games that meet “the strict standards of the Gemeinsamen Glücksspielbehörde der Länder”. This refers to the Joint Gaming Authority (GGL, for its German acronym), the country’s new gaming regulator.
Mernov is not ready for release yet
The entry into the white list itself does not seem to be the starting signal for the legal online slot market. You cannot currently play on any of the two licensed websites. The BingBong website still seems to be in its infancy. Initially, visitors only see “Starting June 2022!”
With the exception of some other information, there is no interactive content yet. A customer registration button is also missing. When you click on the different pages of the site, visitors often come across “Coming Soon” messages.
JackpotPiraten, on the other hand, advertises on its young website with a welcome bonus and already gives an overview of the terms and conditions and conditions of the bonus. The “Register” and “Login” buttons are present, but do not yet allow actual registrations.
JackpotPiraten appoints the Saxony-Anhalt State Administration Office as the licensor. It is therefore unclear whether the active operation of the game is pending until the GGL takes over the licensing task.
Closing a new market
As part of this year’s 19th Symposium on Gambling at the University of Hohenheim, GGL board member Ronald Benter gave an update on the authority’s latest program in March. The GGL will start fighting illegal online gambling from July this year. Then, starting next January, the authority should issue the first online gaming licenses.
When this happens, online gaming operators hope to find a solution to some problems. For example, the German state of Hesse is facing lawsuits over its implementation of online sports betting laws. In addition, gaming operators are concerned about the restrictive nature of the new gaming regulations.
These include € 1 (US $ 1.20) participation limits, unreasonable tax commitments and more. This will keep legitimate platforms away, which they say will force more players to use black market gaming options.