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A Q&A session with Endorphina’s Head of Legal!

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A Q&A session with Endorphina's Head of Legal!
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Recently,  Jakub (Head of Legal at Endorphina) had an interview and dropped some professional insights and thoughts about Germany, their new regulations, the treaty, and more.

 

So, big things are happening in Germany, right?

Yes, Germany was always a rather complicated market. The need for new gambling legislation to fully legalize online gambling was very urgent. Finally, there is hope when the new legislation has been introduced in 2020. And in spring 2021, the number of states to approve the new gambling treaty was met and Germany’s State Treaty on Gambling aka “Der Glücksspielneuregulierungstaatsverag” will become effective from the 1st of July 2021.

 

The Treaty on Gambling becomes effective in July, does that mean that starting from July all operators must have a respective gambling license issued by German regulator?

No, it does not mean that. Germany is not that far in the process and the new regulatory body must first be established. Work to establish this body is underway, and sources suggest it will be fully operational by the end of 2022.

 

When the regulatory body is not established yet, how will Germany apply or enforce new rules introduced in the Treaty on Gambling?

The transitional regime has been introduced and does stipulate guidelines that certain online gambling offerings, namely those of virtual slot machines and online poker, which are actually not yet permitted under the current Interstate Treaty on Gambling, will be exempt from enforcement if operators meet certain requirements that are recognized as technically feasible. Basically, it is some sort of “gentleman agreement” between operators and the government saying: “follow the rules and we will leave you alone”. However, such “guidelines” cannot be mistaken with an effective law!

 

What requirements must be met in order to comply with the guidelines of the transitional regime?

It is a set of various rules. For example, for virtual slot games, the maximum bet must be 1 euro, the spin duration must be at least 5 seconds, no jackpots or auto-spins are allowed, reality checks must be triggered after 60 minutes session of un-interrupted duration and after that, the player must take a 5-minute cool-down break, where they are unable to place a bet, etc. As you can see, the new Treaty on Gambling really focuses on player protection and preventing gambling addiction.

 

Are there any problematic parts of the new regulation?

There are always some problematic parts and challenges from the regulatory point of view. On one side, the regulator tries to protect players but on the other side, games still must remain attractive compared to other markets. So, we can see those lacking jackpots, spin duration, and EUR 1 maximal bets could potentially cause some issues with the attractiveness of games and that is even before we will get into taxes.

 

What is wrong with taxes?

There is a proposal of new taxation of poker and online slots in the amount of 5,3% from all stakes. Considering that the average RTP (return to player) rate from slot games is 96%, such taxation would mean that the operators would be losing money on slots. Actually, to make the revenue from slots equal as without the proposed tax, the RTP of the slots would have to be reduced. And here we come back to the attractivity of games for players. Why would you play a game with a lower RTP when, just a click away, you can play the very same game with a higher RTP, only in an unregulated casino? This is why many experts are afraid that such taxation would drive players to the black market, which is very risky, especially if the jurisdiction is just opening. This taxation is still not yet agreed upon, but unfortunately, there is a high probability that it will actually happen. Even with bet limits or spin durations, Germany is still a very interesting market so we can only hope that the German parliament will reconsider their tax proposal.

Central Europe

IGT Secures Instant Ticket Printing Deal with WestLotto

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International Game Technology PLC has announced that its subsidiary, IGT Global Solutions Corporation, has signed a new instant ticket services contract with Westdeutsche Lotterie GmbH & Co. OHG (WestLotto).

Under the terms of the agreement, IGT will provide a range of instant ticket production and services for WestLotto with unlimited potential. The Lottery will gain additional marketing support from IGT’s Instant Advantage programme that includes portfolio planning, game development, analytics, distribution and retail execution to provide the best player experience.

“WestLotto has worked with IGT on instant ticket production to grow our instants business responsibly. IGT provides top-level service and support for the development of each instant ticket game in the portfolio, and we are looking forward to continuing our successful partnership,” Andreas Kötter, CEO of WestLotto, said.

“As WestLotto’s instant ticket supplier of choice, IGT is committed to supporting a strategic, innovation-rich game portfolio that meets the needs of the Lottery’s players. With IGT’s Instant Advantage program we draw upon global and market-specific deep-dive analytics, benchmarks and databases to support continuous growth for WestLotto instant ticket sales and contributions to good causes,” Jay Gendron, IGT’s Chief Operating Officer for global lottery operations, said.

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Central Europe

Austrian Lotteries and Casino Austria Charged Over Advertising Regulation Breaches

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An Austrian Senate ruling has concluded that two ads from Austrian Lotteries and Casino Austria breached the Austrian press code of honour after it was discovered that promotional content was not marked as such.

The columns, written as editorial adverts, were published in Austrian newspapers Kronen Zeitung on 24 March and Kurier on 26 March 2021.

Whilst the two companies did label an editorial advert as such in Der Standard a few days previously, the Kronen Zeitung and Kurier stories were ruled to be identical but did not feature any such labels.

Under Austrian legislation, all advertised content must be pointed out to readers, however, Austrian Lotteries and Casino Austria covertly advertised their brands.

The articles were judged to be in breach of points three and four of the Austrian press code of honour, which calls for distinctness and impartiality in editorial content.

The content of the advertisements promoted charity work in Austria which is being supported by the two gambling companies, which includes support for the homeless.

The Senate concluded that the articles should have been marked as advertisements and that readers were misled by the articles’ presentation as editorial content. It also called upon the publications to acknowledge this decision.

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Central Europe

Greentube partners with Jokerstar GmbH for German expansion

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Greentube partners with Jokerstar GmbH for German expansion
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Greentube, the NOVOMATIC Interactive division, has partnered with German operator Jokerstar in a deal that will see the supplier‘s content available to a new audience in the country.

Titles including Diamond Link™: Mighty Emperor, Fruit King, Apollo God of Sun™ and Captain Venture: Treasures of the Sea, are available to Jokerstar German customers. The games will be distributed via Pragmatic Solutions’ platform.

Greentube’s content has proven success in the German land-based sector and the supplier has launched its portfolio with a number of online operators since new legislation came into force on 1st July, permitting nationwide online gaming.

Jokerstar is the brand of prominent operator Kling Automaten GmbH. Founded in 1954, Kling is a third-generation family-run casino operator with 165 Joker Casino arcades across Germany.

Julia Schagerl, Key Account Manager Germany at Greentube, said: “Kling Automaten GmbH is an operator with great experience in the German market and we are thrilled to be part of their expansion into the online sector. We see great potential in the German online market and our strategy is to partner with the country’s leading operators. Together with Jokerstar we will further enhance the reach of our content and bring premium entertainment to local players.”

Jürgen Kling, CEO of Jokerstar Casino, said: “We have ambitious plans for our online brand and it is key that we offer our customers the best available content. Greentube is a leading supplier with titles that are loved by global slot fans. Through this partnership, we will significantly strengthen our offering and further position ourselves as a top-tier operator in the regulated German market.”

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