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Sonnenspiele becomes latest licensed German slots operator

| By Zak Thomas-Akoo
Solar Operations Limited, trading through its Sonnenspiele.de brand, has become the latest online slots operator to be added to the German whitelist.
German slots

The operator will join the eight businesses and eleven brands already licensed by the Sachsen-Anhalt state administration office, the body responsible for national online casino regulation and licensing.

The German slots regime is highly tax and regulatory intensive; and larger, more established companies – often with roots in the land-based sector – appear to have found it easier to do business. Of the eleven brands, six are connected with the Gauselmann Group in some capacity, with other large businesses – Tipwin and Novomatic – additionally represented on the whitelist.

Solar Operations also appears to have links with larger gambling providers. The new venture’s website lists Simon Ellul Sullivan and Jeremy Camilleri as directors – both of whom are associated with different businesses.

Sullivan is a director at gaming operator, GGC Malta, while Camilleri is the managing director Gauselmann’s Merkur eSolutions, as well as another licensed online German slot provider, Solis Ortus Service Ltd, also a Gauselmann-affiliated business.

Additionally the Sonnenspiele.de domain name was purchased by GGC Malta last year.

Slot rules  

The German national online slots market is one year old, having being formed following the Federal Republic’s 2021 State Treaty on Gambling (GlüNeuRStv). The settlement created provisions for a nationwide online regulated market for slots and poker businesses. However, the development of the market has in practice been stymied by Germany’s relatively penalising regulatory regime.

The rules which have been particularly singled out as causes of concern are the 5.3% stake tax, cross-operator deposit limits of €1,000 per month and €1 stake limits. Online poker businesses have found the laws completely unworkable, with not a single business licensed to operate in the vertical since founding of the regulated market.

The treaty additionally created provisions for a new national regulatory agency, the Glücksspielbehörde (GGL). The GGL commenced work on 1 July 2022, one year after the passage of the treaty, and is currently focused on combating illegal gambling rather than regulating the sector as a whole – with much regulatory and licensing responsibility still held by state administrative offices.

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