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Gauselmann’s Mernov awarded Germany’s first online slots licence

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Jackpot Piraten and Bing Bong operator Mernov – a company that appears to be part of Gauselmann Group – has become Germany’s first nationwide online slots licensee.

Mernov is so far the only online slots business named on the white list of approved online slots operators, published by Glücksspielbehörde, the new national regulator based in the state of Sachsen-Anhalt.

It has received a licence to operate online slots at both Jackpotpiraten.de and Bingbong.de, and appears to be part of Gauselmann Group as it is based in Espelkamp in Nordrhein-Westfalen. Its office address is even listed as being on Merkur Allee.
Online slots in Germany were permitted nationwide – rather than only in Schleswig-Holstein – for the first time thanks to the passage of Germany’s Fourth State Treaty on Gambling, which came into effect in July 2021.

However, that treaty carried a number of conditions, including a €1 stake limit for slots. In addition, operators must pay 5.3% of their turnover in tax.

The treaty also allowed online poker to be offered across Germany. However, so far no poker licensees have been approved.

Online table games may also be offered, but with a limited number of licences, as states can choose between a monopoly model or a number of concessions equal to the number of land-based casinos in the state. Schleswig-Holstein and Nordrhein-Westfalen are among the states issuing multiple licences, while Thüringia opted for a monopoly.

For almost a year after the treaty came into force, no online slots or poker licensees were listed, as operators and industry body Deutsche Sportwettenverband (DSWV) argued the rules in place made it too difficult to operate.

Earlier this week, the State of Hesse – which handled the sports betting licensing process under the previous Third State Treaty – revealed that it is the subject of a lawsuit from all 33 approved sports betting operators. These operators are protesting the conditions of their licences, including limits on in-play betting markets and a €1,000 spending cap with only limited exceptions.

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