Competition breeds innovation, and this could benefit gamblers in Germany. Finally, the number of approved online slots operators is increasing with the issuance of three more licenses.
Mernov (which later became Deutsche Gesellschaft für Glücksspiel) was the first operator to receive permission to enter Germany when it received its license in May. The following month, Tipwin and Mybet added their names to the small list. At the time, Tipwin was anxious to get started, but Mybet, owned by Austrian sports betting provider Ruleo Alpenland AG, seemed to be more hesitant.
Now, SlotMagie, Merkur and NovoLine have picked up the fourth, fifth and sixth online slot licenses in Germany. It took a year for the country to get this far, but at least progress is coming.
German iGaming Expands
After the Halle State Administration Office (HSAO) published the license approvals for Mybet and Tipwin, the licensing body announced that more licenses were on their way. It stated that as many as nine were in the queue, with SlotMagie, Merkur and NovoLine occupying three of those.
While Germany’s Fourth Interstate Treaty on Gambling allows for both online slots and online poker, only slots have been made available. Moreover, per the licensing administrator’s data, there are still no poker platforms close to launching in the country.
The company behind Slotmagie is The Mill Adventure (TMA), a company based out of Malta. Its entry into the German market follows four months after it gained access to the Netherlands. There, it offers its gaming platform to other operators, offering a full suite of options.
At the beginning of August, TMA added to its virtual sports and casino content through a partnership with Leap Gaming. This capitalized on TMA’s SmartLobbies solution, an artificial intelligence-based offering that allows operators to provide personalized lobbies to each of their users.
Merkur, part of the Gauselmann Group, now holds three licenses, according to the HSAO. These cover Xtip, Merkur Sports and Merkur Spiel. The company has been working on establishing supplier deals with a number of companies this year, including one it inked with iSoftBet in January.
NovoLine, an online slots portal operated by Malta-based BlueBet Operations Ltd., rounds out the list on the HSAO’s most recent update. It offers content from suppliers such as Greentube, Peter & Sons, Oryx and more.
Stiff Controls Govern the Market
Germany’s online gaming market is not going to make anyone rich, especially not operators. In addition to the costs of getting started and the long waits for approval, strict controls limit the amount of action.
Operators are going to have to be more creative than they are in other countries in order to impress gamblers. Germany has established a per-spin cap of €1 (US$1.03) for online slots and operators cannot offer an auto-spin function. In addition, there are no slot jackpots available.
Operators have to give up 5.3% of their turnover to the government through taxes, as well. As a result, alongside the initial frustration over the regulations, the response has been anything but overwhelming.
There will likely be more interest coming from other operators in the future, but there’s no rush. First, many will want to see how well the market responds to this group that is now in place.
Later, if there’s enough activity, they may join. However, there won’t be an explosion of activity anytime soon.
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