Playtech Gaming Ltd. is partnering with Merkur Interactive to take a run at the German gaming market. The move comes just days after a similar deal with Scientific Games fell apart, causing Playtech stocks to tumble.

Cracking Germany

The joint venture is focusing on developing online products aimed at the German punter. But given the regulatory climate in Germany that proposition is a gamble all on its own.  Playtech hinted at this reality in a press release announcing the venture. They said the new firm would be seeking, “‘specific regulatory licenses dependent upon each territory and gaming activity.”

German authorities have thrown up hurdle after hurdle at gaming companies with the hope of protecting their own gambling monopolies. These moves have caused considerable trouble for domestic and foreign gaming firms servicing the German market.

Bwin There Done That

Clearly Playtech is hoping that Merkur’s substantial experience creating slot machines and other gaming products in Germany can help them avoid some of the pitfalls experienced by other companies in this market.

Merkur is hoping the Playtech’s online experience will help them fend off foreign competition ahead of the inevitable deregulation. In an online statement, company officials said, “In Playtech we found the right partner to work with to provide a successful offer for the German online market even in the face of tough competition from international gaming groups.”

Longtime industry watcher will recall that Bwinparty took on the German government in court in hopes of opening the German online gaming market. During the three-year case, Bwin’s stock suffered. The outcome of the case was anything but favorable to Bwin and cause Schleswig-Holstein to enact their own gaming laws.

Recommended reading: German Gaming Law Update

Series of Partnerships

Playtech has been on something of a partnership spree lately and the results have been mixed. Last week the company also entered a similar agreement with South African gaming firm Peermont Group to service the SA sports betting market. So far there’s been nothing but excitement about the Merkur and Peermont deals, but it’s still early.

Last week PlayTech officials were over the moon about a similar deal with Scientific Games aimed at servicing government sponsored gaming. That deal fell apart shortly after it was announced, for reasons that are not yet clear.

Affiliate Matters

So what does the Playtech/Merkur deal mean for affiliates? On its face it looks as though a significant presence in the German gaming market is gearing up for more competition. That’s a petty good indication that the German market may be considering gaming laws that look more like the rest of the Euro Zone.

Are you getting ready to do work with German gaming or things still too unsettled? Let us know in our Online Gambling Laws and Regulations forum.

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