The German online gaming market continues to evolve as individual states try to figure out how they want to respond to a change in legislation. As they work out their differences, gaming operator LeoVegas isn’t sitting idly by and has received a new license that could be a game-changer for the company and the market.
When Germany introduced the Fourth Interstate Gambling Treaty (GlüNeuRStv, for its German acronym), it probably envisioned a methodical rollout of iGaming across the country. The legislation facilitated cohesion among state gambling laws, but some states have taken it to also mean that they can opt out of online gambling entirely.
As a result, the expansion of online gambling has been more subdued than anticipated, with regulators slow to approve licenses and states quick to attack. Most of what is available so far are online slot machines, although online poker recently began to creep in.
LeoVegas Takes Leading Position
As the paradigm continues to shift, LeoVegas is ready to play a major role in the transformation. In one of the first big approvals since MGM Resorts International acquired the company last year, LeoVegas now has a license to offer and market online slots across Germany.
The country’s Joint Gambling Authority (GGL, for its German acronym), approved the license for LeoVegas subsidiary LVSports Limited last week. With it, the company can provide its slots in all 16 states and can also market them, as well, in line with state- and federal-level advertising guidelines.
The GGL just took over at the beginning of the year, another step in transforming Germany’s gaming industry. It brought together a fractured environment that had different regulators for different gambling activities.
Not all German states have been happy with the way the country is implementing its online gambling changes. In the middle of January, for example, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern leaders called out the arrival of the GGL and online gaming, in general.
State Chairman René Domke asserted that just because the GGL existed didn’t mean that states had to adhere to it. He added that the arrival of unified gambling regulations to include online gambling didn’t automatically force individual states to allow it.
This could prove to be a sore spot for LeoVegas as it begins to take advantage of its new license. A request for comment by Casino.org for this article didn’t receive a response before press time.
LeoVegas Revenue Dips
On the heels of the acquisition by MGM Resorts, LeoVegas didn’t see any significant positive movement in its revenue. It reported a 1% increase in gross earnings for the fourth quarter of last year, but also had an operating loss of €2.5 million ($2.7 million). A year earlier, it had a profit of €6.1 million ($6.5 million).
The primary source of the loss came from operating expenses, which increased year on year by 56%. There were increases in personnel and tax costs, with operating expenses draining €16.5 million ($17.7 million) out of the company.
The new license in Germany should give LeoVegas a boost and allow it to see the gains it saw in other European countries like Spain and Sweden. However, first, it will have to contend with those states that aren’t thrilled with the prospect of online gambling.
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