Germany has approved its first virtual slots licensee, a two-year-old company that is apparently linked to Gauselmann Group, the online gambling and machines giant.
More than nine months after the interstate gambling treaty took effect, the Saxony-Anhalt administrative office has approved a lone applicant, Mernov Betriebsgesellschaft, which was founded in June 2020.
Mernov hopes to launch the websites jackpotpiraten.de and bingbong.de on June 1, with “the largest selection of well-known slot games from the German arcades”, said managing director Florian Werner, responding to questions from VIXIO GamblingCompliance.
Mernov’s address is listed as 1-15 Merkur-Allee in Espelkamp, Germany, which is Gauselmann’s headquarters.
The lone game pictured on its website is Eye of Horus, a game supplied by Gauselmann’s Blueprint Gaming.
There may also be a link to Novomatic, the Austrian gambling giant.
The name “Mernov” suggests a combination of Gauselmann’s Merkur and Novomatic, but spokespersons for both Gauselmann and Novomatic referred questions to Werner, who said he was not ready to answer detailed questions about the company.
In a press release, Mernov promised a “unique gaming experience” with “three in-house game brands” and said it was setting up an affiliate programme.
The announcement of the first virtual slots licensee has been eagerly awaited. The Saxony-Anhalt administrative office has said it received 58 slots applications and eight online poker applications, with the application period having opened last July 1.
While they await licensing approval, big names including LeoVegas, Entain’s bwin and Flutter’s PokerStars have been operating online slots and poker under heavy restrictions via a tenuous transitional agreement that attorneys have said has no force in law.
Separately, a spokesman for the state of Hesse confirmed that the Darmstadt Regional Council, which has been administering national sports-betting licences, has been hit with a total of about 100 lawsuits, including at least one from each of the three dozen licensees.
The lawsuits centre on “ancillary provisions” of the licences, spokesman Guido Martin said.
Previously, Tipico, Germany’s largest bookmaker, had said it was among the plaintiffs, as it objected to €1,000 monthly deposit limits as an unwarranted restriction on consumer freedom that did not significantly increase the protection of players.