First German National Online Slots May Launch June 1
- on Oct 09, 2022
The first federally licensed online slot casinos could launch in Germany as soon as June 1 according to one of the sites that were recently announced as a licensee. JackpotPiraten.de and BingBong.de are both sites owned by Gauselmann Group subsidiary, Mernov Betriebsgesellschaft mbH. The announcement first appeared on the website of the German Ministry of the Interior (MoI) of Saxony-Anhalt on May 5.
The Jackpot Pirates website simply states in Deutch “Beginning 2022” while the Bing Bong site proclaims “Im Juni 2022 geht es los! Bald ist es soweit: Online-Glücksspiel für ganz Deutschland,” which roughly translates into English as It starts in June 2022! The time has come: online gambling for the whole of Germany.
The JackpotPiraten site currently holds more content than Bing Bong including basic terms and conditions. It also advertises a weekly raffle with a €25,000 grand prize.
First online casinos in the regulated German market to offer slots to players nationwide.
In an earlier article found on Gaming Intelligence, Mernov managing director Florian Werner told the publication, “We are very happy to be the first provider with a Germany-wide license for virtual slot machines. This is a great moment for us and for the German online gambling market as a whole.”
While national licenses will provide players with slots gaming and sportsbetting nationwide, operators will need to apply for and receive licenses in each of the 16 German national states in order to provide other casino games.
While any greenfield market should be attractive to gambling operators in the fiercely competitive online space, some are less attractive than others. Germany and Argentina come to mind as potentially burdensome for several different reasons including the breakdown of games per jurisdiction and the need to obtain separate licenses for each district or state. A 5.3% tax on each bet in Germany in lieu of VAT could also prove cumbersome to many potential operators.
As well, the German market comes with some of the most stringent restrictions in the world for players including a max bet per spin of only €1 (US$1.20) and no more than an average of one spin every five seconds.
AI-Assisted Account Verification
KYC (know your customer) and age verification will be carried out by the UK’s idnow.io according to terms and conditions found on the Jackpot Pirates website. According to the conditions: “The video verification or eID verification process is necessary to complete the required verification process in order for the player to proceed with the player account activation.”
According to the IDnow website: “All the customer needs is Internet access, a computer with a webcam, a smartphone or tablet, and their valid identification document. IDnow VideoIdent enables identification by video chat whilst considering all the requirements outlined in the Money Laundering Act, data protection directives, and the requirements stipulated by the respective supervisory authorities[et al]”.
New rules were implemented in July 2021 for as yet unlicensed operators to give those who may want to acquire a license once available the chance to come into line with the expected final regulations. Any operator who offered games in the market after that date and did not comply could face exclusion from the regulated market once it is up and running.
In that “transitional tolerance policy”, we saw the following:
Players cannot deposit more than €1,000 per month, per brand.
Autoplay disabled on all games.
Reality checks every hour with a 5-minute cooling-off period before play can resume.
‘Panic button’ to be displayed at all times to let players instantly self-exclude from the casino.
Free-to-play games were no longer permitted.
Advertisers were cautioned to no longer use the words ‘casino’, ‘kasino’, or ‘Casinospiele’ and could only refer to slots as “Automaten Spiele”. From 1 July 2021 new advertising rules were put in place, which forbade excessive advertising, false information about offerings, the suggestion that a player could influence the outcome of a game, or that an income could be generated with gambling. Most are simply “truth in advertising” but some rules may not have been completely clear to all operators.
Many observers have cautioned that such strict rules along with the potential for decreased RTP (return to player percentages) due to taxes on each bet could continue to push German players offshore to gamble at online casinos with less robust player protections.
Germany’s national gambling regulator, Glücksspielbehörde, appointed Ronald Benter and Benjamin Schwanke to be the two leading executives. While the regulator is not expected to be fully geared up and running at speed until 2023, Schwanke did mention upon announcement of their appointments in late 2021: “We will start operations on July 1, 2022. Initially, we will focus on preventing illegal gambling, for instance by looking at IP blocking measures and cracking down on illegal online gambling and related advertising,” according to an October 2021 post on the Gaming in Germany website.