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.
Neccton partners with Germany’s first online slot provider
Responsible gambling software experts bring the power of mentor to players of Die-Spielbank.de, the first state-owned operator of virtual slots within Germany
Market-leading compliance software experts Neccton have landed another major partner in Germany, with Sächsische Spielbanken-GmbH & Co. KG. Their online slots product went live in January 2023 under Die-Spielbank.de.
As the first state provider allowed to run virtual slot games with real-money prizes, the operator has attracted a lot of attention; therefore the company has acted wisely when it comes to player protection, adopting Neccton’s mentor software as its RG and AML solution.
Neccton’s success in Germany’s burgeoning online gaming market is both a testament to the company’s background in RG research, and the industry’s forward-thinking approach to player protection.
Neccton’s software was developed as a result of over 15 years of academic research by Dr Michael Auer, company director and head of development. Dr Auer is regarded as one of the world’s leading lights in academic RG research, and mentor is the very fruit of his work. Dr Auer’s research is also commonly cited by regulatory bodies in operator guidelines.
As a result, Die-Spielbank.de players are now protected by mentor’s AI-driven real-time data analysis, which tracks possible problematic gambling behaviour and works to help both players and operators to identify potential issues early. The tool recognises triggers such as a significant increase in deposit frequency, and alerts the operator and directly contacts the player, helping the end user make better-informed decisions.
mentor also includes modules for Fraud, AML and a CRM so Neccton’s customers can solve many issues with a single supplier.
Dr Auer said of the new partnership: “It speaks volumes that so many operators in this new market have opted to work with us for their player protection and more. Working with us means that player issues can be detected early – but also, my research has shown that players who gamble responsibly are more loyal, and their customer lifetime is significantly longer. It truly makes financial sense for operators to protect their players, and that is precisely what we do to everyone’s benefit.”
Kurt Böhm, Head of Online Casino Operations, is very confident about this partnership: “Neccton’s mentor software is well known and proven within the iGaming industry. Therefore we trust the software and are delighted about the partnership with Neccton. We are looking forward working closely with Dr Michael Auer and the whole Neccton team.”
These are the most successful new games in Germany in 2022
Be it exciting sports games, games for the entire family, epic journeys into fantastical worlds, or action-packed adventure – 2022 offered a wide range of video game titles to choose from. This can be seen in the German annual charts for the bestselling PC and console games that were released in 2022. The hit sports game ‘EA SPORTS FIFA 23’ (Electronic Arts) captured first place in the list of bestselling new game releases in 2022. Another major success: ‘Pokémon Legends: Arceus’ (Nintendo) from the popular Pokémon series for the Nintendo Switch. This action role-playing game took second place in the list of bestselling games for the year just ended. Third place in the German charts for 2022 was secured by the award-winning open-world game ‘ELDEN RING’ (Bandai Namco Entertainment), which was the result of a collaboration between game developer Hidetaka Miyazaki and author George R. R. Martin. Just two months after its release at the end of October 2022, first-person shooter game ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II’ (Activision) made it into fourth place. It was followed in fifth place by the action-adventure game ‘LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga’ (Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment), whose missions are based on the most important events from the nine ‘Star Wars’ films.
The 20 bestselling PC and console games in 2022:
Information on the annual charts
The annual charts for 2022 list the games released that year for PCs and game consoles that were most often sold – physically and digitally, across platforms – in Germany in 2022. The data is gathered by Games Sales Data (GSD), a platform operated by the Interactive Software Federation of Europe (ISFE). Digital sales of Nintendo titles from the Nintendo eShop are not included.
PRAGMATIC PLAY BROADENS CZECH PRESENCE WITH FORBES CASINO
Pragmatic Play, a leading content provider to the iGaming industry, has signed a strategic partnership with Forbes Casino in the Czech Republic.
The agreement provides Forbes Casino users with 12 of the provider’s high-performing Slots, including player favourite Sugar Rush™ and multi-award-winning titles such as Gates of Olympus™ and Wolf Gold™. In total, 50 of Pragmatic Play’s Slot games are now certified across the regulated Czech market.
Forbes Casino is a recently established online brand of Victoria Tip a.s., one of the most successful operators of brick-and-mortar casinos in the country.
The latest partnership for Pragmatic Play adds to its growing presence across Europe and cements its position as a key player in the Czech Republic.
Irina Cornides, Chief Operating Officer at Pragmatic Play, said: “Forbes Casino is built on a rich history of providing high-quality casino experiences to players in the Czech Republic, and we are honoured to expand on that with the addition of Pragmatic Play titles to their online operation.
“With a strong commitment to our craft and dedication to responsible gambling, we are excited that even more players in this growing regulated market can now enjoy our globally popular games.”
Petr Žemba, Project Manager at Forbes Casino, said: “When looking at collaborators for our online operations, we know brand reputation is of utmost importance to our users, partnering with such a well-established provider as Pragmatic Play is a victory in itself.
“We know our customers are going to love the titles that we’ve added which have already proved to be a big hit across the wider European market and beyond. We look forward to seeing where this deal can take us and the new heights we can reach on Forbes Casino.”
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