German gaming giant Gauselmann Group has struck a new, exclusive sponsorship deal with 2.Bundesliga club Fortuna Düsseldorf.
Gauselmann, which like Fortuna is based in the state of Nordrhein-Westfalen, will use its Merkur sports betting brand for the partnership, which states that the club may no sign similar agreements with other gambling businesses.
It builds on a partnership with the Merkur Spiel-Arena, for which Fortuna is the principal tenant. Gauselmann secured naming rights to the stadium, which has also hosted the Eurovision Song Contest, in 2018.
“The fact that we, as the main tenant of the Merkur Spiel-Arena, have now been able to conclude a comprehensive partnership with its namesake is an important step for Fortuna that has only now become possible,” Fortuna Düsseldorf marketing director Christian Koke said.
“We are pleased to be able to exclusively welcome a company based in Nordrhein-Westfalen as a partner in this sector, because the gambling and gaming market, which also includes sports betting, provides economic benefits for football, but is also a sensitive field,” Koke continued.
“We would like to thank those responsible at the Gauselmann Group for the fair discussions and the willingness to enter into such a long-term and comprehensive partnership with us in a difficult time like this.”
Fortuna will play in the 2.Bundesliga, Germany’s second highest division, in the 2020-21 season, after it was relegated from the top-tier Bundesliga in 2019-20.
Gauselmann Group marketing director Manfred Stoffers said the business was excited to have agreed the partnership with the club.
“After all, Fortuna is one of the leading lights of sport in Düsseldorf,” he added.
“[Through] our sponsorship, we can make a small contribution to ensuring that Fortuna gets back on the up as soon as possible.”
The agreement comes amid a period of flux for the German gambling industry, with state Minister-Presidents this week agreeing on a transition period in which operators can offer online casino, poker and sports betting.
This will be in place until the new regulatory framework, the Glücksspielneuregulierungstaatsvertrag, comes into force from July next year.
Operators will be required to abide by the terms of that Treaty, such as limiting slot stakes to €1 and restricting in-play betting and must implement all player protection measures set out in the legislation by 15 October this year. Table games, meanwhile, will remain prohibited under the transition period.