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Sale of WestSpiel Group initiated

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Sale of WestSpiel Group initiated
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• EU-wide procurement procedure started on 18th December 2020

• Prospective buyers can apply now

On 18th December 2020, a Europe-wide tender procedure for the sale of the shares in the WestSpiel Group was launched by Warth & Klein Grant Thornton AG Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft as the lead transaction advisor. As a state-licensed casino operator, WestSpiel Group currently has 900 employees and runs four casino locations in Aachen, Bad Oeynhausen, Dortmund-Hohensyburg and Duisburg, holding the exclusive casino monopoly in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia. WestSpiel Group, consisting of several legal entities, will be sold in its entirety. The shares in the WestSpiel Group are currently held by NRW.BANK, the North Rhine-Westphalian federal development bank.

Call for competition launched
The government of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia decided on 8 May 2018 to privatise the WestSpiel Group. The Act on the Licensing of Public Casinos in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (‘SpielbG NRW’), which came into force on 3rd June 2020, created an essential precondition for the privatisation. For the first time since then, casinos in North Rhine-Westphalia were permitted to be operated under private ownership. Prospective buyers from Germany and abroad can now qualify for the forthcoming bidding and negotiation phase in a call for competition. The respective tender documents can be accessed via the link quoted in the contract notice as announced in the EU Official Journal (https://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:615286-2020:TEXT:EN:HTML&src=0) or directly via the tender marketplace NRW (Vergabemarktplatz NRW: https://www.evergabe.nrw.de/VMPSatellite/notice/CXPNYH5D573/documents).
Sound and profitable performance

The WestSpiel Group generated a gross gaming revenue of around €117.2 million in the 2019 financial year attracting around 900,000 visitors in total. This represents a significant growth of almost 27% compared to the previous year (gross gaming revenue 2018: around €92.3 million).
The group’s casinos offer around 80 gaming tables and 900 slot machines in total. The casino operated by WestSpiel Group in Duisburg is currently the most successful casino in Germany in terms of number of visits and gross gaming revenue achieved. In January 2020, the F.A.Z.-Institute nominated WestSpiel Group as Germany’s most future-proof company in the casino industry.

Excellent prospects and considerable development potential

The WestSpiel Group holds the exclusive casino monopoly in North Rhine-Westphalia, the economically strongest and most populous federal state in Germany.
Compared across Europe, the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia is one of the six economically strongest economies, even ahead of Belgium, Poland and Sweden.

The group’s position in this impressive market has been secured long-term by the amended SpielbG NRW and an exclusive 15-year concession. Furthermore, the new SpielbG NRW principally allows the future owner to also establish two further casino locations in North Rhine-Westphalia with attractive catchment areas each. The presence and availability of casinos in North Rhine-Westphalia is still relatively low for the 18 million inhabitants of the federal state when compared to other federal states. The WestSpiel Group therefore offers considerable potential for further successful growth.

A decision on what form previously unregulated, and thus illegal, online casino gaming will be developed on the basis of the 2021 State Treaty on Gambling has not been made yet. Subject to the structure under state law, WestSpiel Group therefore may have the opportunity to obtain a concession for online casino gambling which, however, has not been regulated to date.

Central Europe

BMM Testlabs Celebrates the Grand Opening of New Gaming Laboratory in Slovenia

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BMM Testlabs Celebrates the Grand Opening of New Gaming Laboratory in Slovenia
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BMM Testlabs, the world’s original gaming test lab, inspection body, and product certification consultancy, is pleased to announce that it is celebrating the grand opening of its new office and product testing laboratory in Ljubljana, Slovenia today. The opening of BMM Slovenia will be hosted by Damjan Semec, Managing Director of Operations, who has over 20 years of gaming laboratory experience.

Martin Storm, Executive Chairman and CEO of BMM International, stated, “BMM Slovenia provides product testing and certification services for games, systems, and associated equipment for the gaming industry across online and land-based gaming. The team in Slovenia works closely with BMM’s successful European gaming labs in Spain, Italy, Poland, and Romania, as well as BMM’s eleven additional locations around the world, continuing to provide its customers access to the global gaming industry.”

Damjan Semec, Managing Director of Operations, commented, “We are pleased to welcome our industry friends and customers to the grand opening of BMM Slovenia. Attendees can expect an afternoon of entertainment with some very special guests and even a few surprises. Our Slovenian team has been servicing local manufacturers and operators for many years, and we are pleased to continue BMM’s reputation as the best gaming test lab in the world. The combination of BMM’s high quality services and our Slovenian team’s longevity and experience will lead to many opportunities throughout the region.”

Storm continued, “I am pleased that Marzia Turrini (Executive Vice President, EURSAM) and I are here in Slovenia for the grand opening event. We are grateful to our customers around the world for the opportunity to grow our business with them, and now extend our services into Slovenia.”

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GiG Comply continues to drive compliance with new partner, Merkur

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GiG Comply continues to drive compliance with new partner, Merkur
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Gaming Innovation Group Inc. (GiG) have today announced a new partnership for its automated affiliate marketing compliance tool GiG Comply, with German based operator Merkur.

The igaming industry in Germany is a robustly regulated marketplace, which helps make compliance a priority for operators like Merkur, placing an emphasis on the need to protect their brands. GiG Comply is an automated marketing compliance solution that scans web pages for content including links, iGaming code red words and regulatory requirements across multiple jurisdictions. It works by using its rules engine to analyse real snapshots from affiliates’ campaigns and provides operators with the promotional content that is being used in their brands’ promotions.

It is a flexible tool, which allows operators to set-up their own criteria and checklist parameters and can be tailored to cover any market-specific requirements, helping to ensure that operators remain compliant in multiple jurisdictions.

Jonas Warrer, Chief Marketing Officer at GiG, said: “It’s important that GiG Comply will continue to help Merkur, as it does our other partners, to remain proactive and in control of its marketing compliance. We’re delighted to be able to ensure affiliates are fully aligned with their brand and responsible gaming requirements.”

Martin Collins, Affiliate Lead at Merkur, said: “With everything we do here at Merkur Partners we aim to do it right, especially when it comes to compliance. All our brands are operated by local licenses both on and offline and where we abide by the rules. Having GiG Comply on board as a strategic partner is a great starting point as both sides come with a vast knowledge of the igaming world, and with ever changing regulations, we will make a great partnership.”

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Central Europe

Jokerstar Casino operated by Kling Automaten GmbH goes live in Germany

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Pragmatic Solutions is very proud to announce, that Jokerstar Casino (www. jokerstar .de) is live in the regulated German online gaming market.

Kling was established in 1954. The third-generation family-run company operates 165 Joker casino arcades across Germany. One of the casino operator’s highest values is offering its customers the best quality. Therefore, both Joker arcades and their well-trained staff stand out compared to all their competitors. Germany-wide, around 1000 employees contribute to the casino operator’s success. Over the past decades, the company has continued to grow steadily on its solid foundation and is currently the sixth largest land-based operator. Kling is always seeking new opportunities and is therefore now boldly expanding Jokerstar into the regulated online market.

The establishment of the new regulatory regime in Germany to license and regulate online gaming presented an opportunity for Kling to expand their land-based business into the online sector. After a comprehensive vendor evaluation process, Kling chose Pragmatic Solutions to provide the platform technology to support this exciting new phase and ensure local regulatory compliance.

After many months of collaboration with Kling, Pragmatic Solutions implemented all the necessary regulatory controls to enable Jokerstar to meet the strict conditions of the German locally regulated casino market.  These measures included enforcement of deposit and betting limits, implementation of problem gambling controls including the “panic button” 24-hr instant cool-off period, integration with the OASIS national self-exclusion database, integrations with the LUGAS central monitoring database, and numerous additional operational and player-experience feature enhancements to give Kling a real advantage in the market.

Pragmatic Solutions is the platform technology sister-company of the industry content leader, Pragmatic Play. The company provides iGaming operators with enterprise platform technologies built around a core Player Account Management (PAM) platform. The Pragmatic Solutions PAM is designed using a modern microservices architecture and contains a player account, wallet, CRM tools, bonus management tools, payment tools, KYC/AML and fraud-prevention services, and is underpinned by rules-based automation throughout. In addition to the PAM, Pragmatic Solutions provides a Content Management System to power the gaming brand frontend clients and an Integrations Hub to connect the operator to many third-party content, payment gateways and services.

For Kling, Pragmatic Solutions presented a full-stack solution to accelerate their time to market and provide a solid technological foundation for Jokerstar.

Juergen Kling, CEO of KLING AUTOMATEN GmbH, explained their choice of Pragmatic Solutions by saying, “We are very excited about the new online opportunity for Kling, and we have ambitious plans for Jokerstar online casino. We have a long-term vision and need a technology partner that can help us enter the market successfully today and provide ongoing innovation and development support in the future to ensure that Jokerstar casino becomes a dominant player in the regulated German market. After a comprehensive evaluation process, we found Pragmatic Solutions to have the right technology, experience in regulated markets, and a strong commitment to supporting our business as we expand into online gaming. We are very excited and proud to announce the launch of Jokerstar.de and the next phase of our partnership with Pragmatic.”

Ashley Lang, Pragmatic Solutions’ CEO, commented on the announcement, “We are delighted to be working with Juergen and the team at Kling in this exciting project. We believe established land-based operators have great potential to lead in regulated markets and to support Kling we have made significant developments to the platform to ensure that it is fully compliant with both the transitional German regime that began on 15 October 2020 and the new Interstate Treaty on Gambling that came into force from the 1 July 2021. We could not be more pleased or proud to be supporting Kling in the launch of Jokerstar casino.”

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