Novomatic Group withdraws from German gambling market

  • Gaming operator confirms it will pull games from German casino sites
  • Confusion continues over legal status of online gambling

One of Europe’s leading slots suppliers have announced they will withdraw entirely from the German gaming market, with the company confirming that its games have been removed from online casinos that serve German players.

Novomatic have announced they will withdraw entirely from the German gaming market.

Novomatic becomes the second operator to call time on online gambling in Germany: Gauselmann Group took a similar decision late last year.

The announcement comes amid confusion between operators and the German authorities as to whether online gambling is legal. Keen to stay on the right side of the law and avoid regulators penalizing their land-based business, Novomatic has opted to step aside from online gaming in Germany until better clarity on its legal status can be obtained.

Novomatic content removed from German sites

Back in November, Gauselmann Group confirmed it was pulling all of its gaming content from German gambling sites, due to revelations that the brand had links with internationally licensed operators that were delivering content to German players.

Just one month later, German media reported that Novomatic-affiliated Greentube was removing all of the brand’s gaming content from German-facing online casino sites. This week, Novomatic has confirmed the decision themselves in a brief statement to Austrian media outlet APA.

Confusion over regulation prompts pullback

Federal law in Germany prevents casino gambling – though it is not entirely clear how this applies to online gaming, with the law frequently criticized for its lack of clarity. A reform of gaming laws in 2012, and a subsequent revision, never got formally signed into being – leaving casino operators and players in a state of regulatory limbo.

Novomatic pulled out of its proposed listing on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in September of last year, reports Calvin Ayre, due to delays in settling gambling hall regulations and concerns that new restrictions would limit the brand’s land-based offerings. The operator is one of the largest suppliers of land-based casino games in Germany, so it wants to stay on the right side of regulators and has opted to reduce its presence online instead.

The difficulty in regulating a gambling market with uncertain legal status is evident in Novomatic’s statement of intent to withdraw, which notes that “many providers… continue to place copied gaming content unlawfully on the German market without having relevant agreements with us.”

Without clarity on the legal position online gaming occupies and with the risk of rogue traders taking content for their own, operators serving Germany are finding it easier to pause their efforts to crack the online casino market there.

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