Germany issues sixth online slots licence

Novomatic has gained a licence for its BluBet Operations subsidiary.
Novomatic has gained a licence for its BluBet Operations subsidiary.

After the long wait, a flurry of new online slot licences continues.

Germany.- Saxony-Anhalt’s State Administration Office has announced that it has issued a sixth online slots licence. It’s granted the licence to Novomatic, whose subsidiary, BluBet Operations, will operate at Novomatic already has a licence for its Mernov joint venture with Merkur.

The latest announcement comes after the office granted licences to Merkur and The Mill Adventure last week. Merkur has received a licence for three sites: Xtip, Merkur Sports and Merkur Spiel. The Mill Adventure will offer slots on its Slotmagie website.

Germany’s new online gambling legislation came into force on July 1 last year, introducing a tight regulatory regime for slots with a €1 stake limit and a 5.3 per cent tax on turnover. Licensing has been slow, with the first online slots licences not issued until earlier this year.

The first operator to receive a licence was Mernov, a joint venture between Merkur and Novomatic that has since changed its name to Deutsche Gesellschaft für Glücksspiel (DGGS). Licences followed for Tipwin and Mybet in June. The state of Saxony-Anhalt has since said that it has approved another nine operators but didn’t name them.

Saxony-Anhalt’s State Administration Office remains responsible for online slots and poker licensing until the new regulator Gemeinsamen Glücksspielbehörde der Länder (GGL – The German Federal States’ Joint Gambling Authority) takes over on January 1, 2023.

With its licensing process taking so long, some eight applications have been withdrawn – including that from Kindred’s Unibet which has turned its back on Germany for now due to the slow licensing progress and the tight restrictions in the regulated market. Only one application has actually been rejected by the office.

The State Administration Office recently said it had referred 25 online gaming operators to the public prosecutor’s office for offering gaming without a licence in the last year. It said it had checked 871 websites and investigated 148 cases of illegal gambling and 90 cases of illegal gambling advertising.

Meanwhile, the GGL has already taken over enforcement duties, taking steps to begin to block IP addresses and payments to unlicensed operators. The regulator also plans to devise an early detection system for gambling harm and to create a centralised complaints and whistleblowing system that the public will be able to use to report gambling “irregularities”, advertising violations and suspicions of illegal gambling.

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