In 1957, Paul Gauselmann laid the foundation for today’s Gauselmann Group with his part-time work as an independent gaming machine operator. The unique development from one-man operator to an international group is a rare kind of German success story. The professional career path of the businessman born in 1934 in Borghorst near Münster, Germany, began with his training as a telecommunications inspector. His part-time work as a jukebox operator culminated in 1964 in full business independence. Despite considerable workloads, the young entrepreneur still found time for his hobby: tinkering. Amongst other things, he developed a remote selection box for German jukeboxes - the first of his 300 patents to date.
In 1974, Paul Gauselmann opened his first gaming venue in Delmenhorst, Germany, which at the same time was also the first modern venue of its kind. Over the coming decades the CASINO MERKUR-SPIELOTHEK subsidiary became one of the largest national gaming venue chains in Germany. In 1986, the Gauselmann Group opened its first international entertainment centre, in 2005 Merkur Casino GmbH was established to promote the international expansion of gaming venues and in 2014 it changed its name to Casino Merkur International GmbH. Another pioneering invention was the first amusement with prizes(AWP) machine developed and produced in-house by the Gauselmann company, which was brought to market in 1977 under the name ’Merkur B.’ In 2014, the two millionth AWP machine rolled off the production line at the Lübbecke production site.
In 1980, Gauselmann AG was established as a holding company, which offers centralised services for many of the companies established in the meantime. With the establishment of the Atronic subsidiary and entry into the international casino equipment business in 1993, the Gauselmann Group began its global business activities. In May 2008, Atronic came completely under the responsibility of the American lottery system provider GTECH.
Nowadays, the adp Gauselmann GmbH subsidiary with its brand Merkur Gaming is responsible for the development and distribution of entertainment machines with cash prize opportunities, casino slot machines, and video lottery terminals as well as server-based gaming systems for international markets. Another milestone was the certification of adp Gauselmann in accordance with the DIN EN ISO 9001:2008 standard at the end of 2002. As a result, the Gauselmann Group became the first TÜV-certified company in the industry. In 2003, the Gauselmann Großhandel and Merkur Servicegesellschaft segments also received the certification, followed in 2014 by the headquarters of CASINO MERKUR-SPIELOTHEK.
Another important field of business is New Media. This company segment brings together the Group’s activities in the sports betting, Internet-based gaming (online gaming) and financial services in the form of Merkur Interactive GmbH established in 2006.
In 2012, the Gauselmann Group took over the British Praesepe arcade network in the largest acquisition in the Group’s history. Another milestone was the opening of the first casino in Leuna-Günthersdorf (Saxony-Anhalt) in December 2014. The casino is operated by Merkur Spielbanken Sachsen-Anhalt GmbH & Co. KG and its partner, Stadtcasino Baden AG.
The Gauselmann family of entrepreneurs has been devoted to its work in associations for many years. Since 1966, Paul Gauselmann has held leading roles in industry associations; since 1981 he has been President of the VDAI (German Association of Coin-Op Amusement and Vending Machines). For decades, Paul Gauselmann’s sons have also helped shape the Group’s destiny. Michael Gauselmann, a graduate in business administration, has played a leading role in the company’s international expansion for more than three decades. Beyond that, he also founded the ‘FORUM Junger Automatenunternehmer in Europa e.V.’ (FORUM for young coin-operated machine entrepreneurs in Europe) in 1990, today’s ‘FORUM für Automatenunternehmer in Europa e.V.’ (FORUM for coin-operated machine entrepreneurs in Europe).
Armin Gauselmann, also a graduate in business administration, is the Gauselmann Group’s Director in charge of personnel and real estate. He also oversees the Deutsche Automatenmuseum – Sammlung Gauselmann [German Coin-Op Museum], which was established in 1985 by Michael Gauselmann, and together with Karin Gauselmann he presides over the Paul and Karin Gauselmann Foundation. In his role on the Supervisory Board, Karsten Gauselmann also helps to secure the company’s fortunes. In the 1980s, Peter Gauselmann also worked as a computer scientist in charge of the development of the IT department of today’s BEIT Systemhaus GmbH.
In order to secure the Gauselmann Group’s continued existence as a consolidated entity, the company was transferred into the “Gauselmann Family Foundation” at the beginning of 2016. As a consequence, the members of the entrepreneurial family have incorporated their respective shares into the foundation. The Foundation’s Advisory Board and Board of Directors are made up predominantly of members of the Gauselmann family.
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