20-Jul-2021 Espelkamp | Company
The search for a suitable new operator for the four WestSpiel casinos in North Rhine-Westphalia is over: the contract has been awarded to Germany’s biggest gaming company, the family-run Gauselmann Group from Eastern Westphalia with 14,000 employees worldwide.
The Gauselmann Group demonstrates its outstanding expertise in successful casino operation at more than 28 casino locations in Germany and abroad as well as casinos aboard cruise ships. Casino operating expertise was one of the principal prerequisites for participation in the tendering procedure initiated in 2020 to take over the WestSpiel Group with its four casinos in Aachen, Bad Oeynhausen, Dortmund-Hohensyburg and Duisburg, as well as the possibility of opening two more casinos in North Rhine-Westphalia. As the bidder with the most attractive offer and proof of sustainable economic performance as well as financial stability and quality, the Gauselmann Group was awarded the contract, which was sealed with the notarised purchase agreement on 20 July 2021. The takeover is still subject to approval by the antitrust authorities.
“We are delighted about this new and important milestone in our more than 60-year company history. Personally, I feel very proud to be able to show, especially here in North Rhine-Westphalia, my home state, that we have mastered the ‘high art’ of gaming with and for money. Our concept has already proven to be extremely successful in other federal states and I am sure that it will prove equally convincing in North Rhine-Westphalia. As a company rich in tradition, in the most populous federal state with 18 million inhabitants, WestSpiel offers the best prerequisites for this,” says company founder and Management Board Chairman, Paul Gauselmann.
MERKUR’s success formula is based on four pillars: best technologies, best games, best atmosphere and best qualified personnel. “We are now about to not only continue the success story of the casinos in NRW together with our colleagues from the WestSpiel Group, but also to take it forward in line with the times,” says David Schnabel, Managing Director MERKUR Spielbanken.
“The Gauselmann Group is known throughout the entire gaming sector for its pioneering innovations,” David Schnabel adds. “In the casinos segment in particular, we have introduced numerous optimisations in recent years which, by establishing new processes and workflows in many areas, allow us to focus more strongly on our service concepts. Here, we can draw on the decades-long experience of the Gauselmann Group as operator of some 800 gaming arcades Europe-wide. No other company in the German market has this level of expertise.”
While primarily serving the needs-oriented qualification of junior staff, the diverse further training opportunities within the Gauselmann Group at the same time lead to long-term staff retention and a high level of satisfaction among employees.
David Schnabel is in no doubt that the new colleagues from the WestSpiel Group will be equally impressed by the extensive offering provided by their new private-sector employer. “We operate according to the principle ‘never change a winning team’, which means that we will continue to build on the professional experience and commitment of the entire WestSpiel team. Without the new colleagues, we would be unable to operate the existing and the two planned new venues,” David Schnabel explains.
As a manufacturer and exemplary operator of gaming arcades, the Gauselmann Group is resolutely committed in every respect to consumer protection and responsible management of possible gaming risks, as Merkur Spielbanken Sachsen-Anhalt GmbH & Co. KG impressively demonstrates with its three MERKUR casinos. This was the first casino organisation in Europe to be accredited by the Global Gambling Guidance Group (G4) for its responsible gaming measures back in 2015. In 2019, the European Casino Association (ECA) also honoured Merkur Spielbanken Sachsen-Anhalt for responsible gaming in recognition of its extensive player protection measures. Thus the MERKUR casinos received official recognition of their effective and extensive contribution to player protection on all levels – which in addition to the implementation of statutory requirements also involves integration of responsible gaming guidelines into all internal workflows.
The takeover by the Gauselmann Group will provide a clear impulse for a successful future for the casinos in NRW. The know-how accumulated both within the Gauselmann Group and at WestSpiel over the past decades will lay the foundation for a successful repositioning of the casinos in NRW. Players and employees alike can look forward to this exciting new journey. “Our entry into the casino segment in Saxony-Anhalt in 2013 was far from easy,” Paul Gauselmann remembers. “But from what we inherited and what we have to offer from over 60 years in the business, we set new benchmarks in the German casino sector. Given the better conditions that WestSpiel offers, we are striving to achieve the same success with our new MERKUR casinos in NRW. And I am certain that we will be successful!”
About the Gauselmann Group
The Gauselmann Group is an internationally active family-owned company in the entertainment and leisure-time industry. With its MERKUR brand, the company has consistently stood for gaming fun for over 60 years. Alongside the development of games, system solutions, production and sales of amusement and gaming machines as well as money management systems, the group operates the MERKUR CASINO arcade chain and is also active in the sports betting, online gaming and casinos business segments. In the pre-coronavirus year 2019, the Gauselmann Group generated aggregated sales of around 3.5 billion euros with some 14,000 staff and approximately 220 trainees and apprentices worldwide.
The Gauselmann Group has been operating modern gaming arcades in Germany and Europe very successfully since 1974. In 2013, in cooperation with the Swiss Stadtcasino Baden AG, the group first participated in a tendering procedure for the casino franchise for the German state of Saxony-Anhalt. The German-Swiss joint venture won out against four other interested parties and opened its first venue in Leuna-Günthersdorf at the end of 2014. Two other casinos in Magdeburg and in Halle (Saale) followed.
Since 2016, the Gauselmann Group has also held a stake in Spielbank Berlin with its four venues and, since 2019, in three more casinos in Rhineland Palatinate. In addition to the ten casino venues currently operated on land, the Gauselmann Group also runs international ship casinos on TUI cruise liners “Mein Schiff”. The company is planning to further expand its activities in the shipping sector in the future.