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Merkur Gamings Slots To Be Removed For German Players
Merkur Gamings Slots To Be Removed For German Players

Last week, many online casinos removed all slot machines from Merkur Gaming involving customers located in Germany. Why would online casinos remove games of one of the country's most popular providers and is there any workaround for German players to maintain access to the games online? Read more below...

What Paradise Papers has to do with Merkur Gaming’s online slot machines

When the Paradise Papers were published a few weeks ago, all over the world individuals and companies faced investigations of their business practices. In addition to the "usual" tax fraud of many people, German banks were also denounced for allowing payments to online casinos - and thus supporting what is deemed officially illegal gambling on the net. Even worse: They also seemed to earn from these practices by taking fees for their services. While these accusations remained largely without any direct effect on the online gambler, it was other information that led to rather hectic situations in the industry and towards players. Last week, all games from Merkur Gaming were removed from many online casinos and it seems like it won’t be long until all of the provider's games will be gone from its home country's online market.

The reason for this drastic decision is an announcement of the Gauselmann Group which stands behind Merkur Gaming: All online casinos will be revoked of their license if they do not ensure that their games are no longer accessible to German customers. This step is not officially associated with the Paradise Papers, but is based on a ruling of the German Federal Administrative Court from October 2017 (BVerwG 8 C 14.16 and 8 C 18.16). It confirmed that online gambling is not permitted in Germany. This legal orientation has long been a source of insecurity and resistance in the industry and is legally controversial: The treaty this decision is based on conflicts with EU law. Still, the German government holds on to it, leaving German players in a grey area. While the Gauselmann Group is now referring to this verdict, the Paradise Papers disclose that the company profits from German players who wager real money at (officially illegal) online casinos which offer Merkur Gaming slots.

Effects on online casinos removing Merkur games

Whatever the actual reason for the company's decision is, the announcement has a huge impact on many online casinos. Websites like Sunmaker, Stake7 or PlaySunny used to focus their marketing completely on the offer of games from Merkur. Many players refer to these sites as the online alternative to musty arcades where they can play their beloved slots at home or via mobile. For sites like these, the threat of losing Gauselmann's license altogether is a serious one. Hence, last week they silently started to remove the games for German customers. This also includes casinos which own one of the few German licences that were once issued by the state of Schleswig Holstein. A few years ago, the federal state had broken out of the State Treaty on Gambling and granted a few licenses to some providers to offer online casinos (e.g. the PlayCherry Group), which soon will be revoked. Suppliers with or without German licensing who had built up their complete offer on Merkur games had to reschedule very quickly since the Gauselmann Groupe set a very short deadline to remove the games. In the case of Stake7 for example, a relatively hectic move to EveryMatrix was implemented. From one week to the other, they now provide games from different software’s such as Net Entertainment, Microgaming, Evolution Gaming or NYX and removed all German content from their site.

So, as it seems, all of Merkur's games will soon be unavailable from Germany. But there is still a workaround for some of the most popular games. Since Merkur didn't develop all the games themselves, but had a content deal for a handful of games from Australian developer Reel Time Gaming, these games are not lost. Some online casinos such as Lapalingo still offer such games including Eye of Hours, Fishin Frenzy, Wishing Well and El Torero to German customers - now under the original label “Reel Time Gaming”. So German players can still play them – but without the popular ladder feature to increase winnings – an addition Merkur adds to all their games. The gameplay, graphics and winnings are still all the same though. A small relief for all involved.



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