Gauselmann buys Westspiel Casinos
The state casinos in North Rhine-Westphalia have been sold since discussed and promoted over the years. Many gambling companies were interested in acquiring the casinos. Although it took a long time to decide on a new owner, the contract has now been awarded. As was almost to be expected, Gauselmann was awarded the contract.
Purchase was with strict rules connected
In the end it was clear from the beginning that onlya successful company may take over the Westspiel casinos. The sales conditions included, for example:
These strict conditions meant that not many gambling companies were interested in buying Westspiel. In some cases, it was not published who would like to buy the Westspiel casinos.
But experts in the gambling industry had a guess as to who other than Gauselmann was interested in buying. For example,it was assumed that Novomatic also applied. Both companies have sufficient experience in running land-based gambling establishments. There was another reason for Gauselmann to apply: This group is not only known for the football stadium "Merkur Spiel-Arena". Gauselmann is a sponsor of Fortuna Düsseldorf. This creates a regional connection, which is strengthened by the purchase of Westspiel Casinos.
Gauselmann emerged as the winner
Gauselmann was awarded the contract for the Westspiel casinos. Basically, this is not surprising. This group not only fulfills the requirements mentioned above. At Gauselmann there is no risk that the provisions of the new State Treaty on Gaming will not be complied with. After all,this company is pleased about several awards, which confirm that Gauselmann attaches great importance to safe gaming.
Further awards, which confirm that Gauselmann is a very good employer and that the customers are more than satisfied, could have been the deciding factor. Last but not least, it could also be due to the fact that Gauselmann went almost to the end of theCorona pandemic without any financial loss. Other gaming providers had to lay off several employees – Gauselmann, on the other hand, hired trainees as always. The current employees of the Westspiel casinos should be happy about this fact. They don't have to expect to be fired.
In addition, thanks to Merkur Spielhallen, Gauselmann has sufficient experience when it comes to managing land-based casinos. Gauselmann publicly announced that the contract for the Westspiel casinosis based on four building blocks:
The company would also like to apply these building blocks, which have led to Gauselmann's success, to the Westspiel casinos. Not only will the previous locations in Aachen, Bad Oeynhausen, Dortmund and Duisburg remain in place. With the purchase of Westspiel-Casinos the new owner receives two more licenses. At which locations this is used has not yet been published.
Why was Westspiel sold?
Whether the sale of Westspiel Casinos was necessary or not remains to be seen. Westspiel Casinos have suffered losses in recent years. That was the decisive factor, which is why the sale was targeted. Finance Minister Lutz Lienenkamper, who described Westspiel as a loss-making company, gave the impetus. Westspiel is a state-owned company from which North Rhine-Westphalia has benefited for many years. This was also shown in the year2019, in which the casinos made a profit for the first time: 3.2 million euros.
According to other reports, the state earns about 50 million euros annually from the casinos. This led to sharp criticism from both the works council and the opposition in the state parliament. The question therefore rightly arises as to why Westspiel was sold at all. The sale was also criticized bythe staff, who even held a demonstration. This was primarily due to the fact that neither a job guarantee was given nor was it even discussed with the employees how to proceed.
Now, however, the employees can be happy because they could hardly have found a better new employer. Gauselmann is known for his high level of social skills in relation to his employees. This gambling company is also known for offering its players aninteresting ambience. Thanks to this, all venues are very popular and enjoy high turnover.
Approval from the cartel authorities is still missing
It is not yet known when Westspiel Casinos will change hands. First theantitrust authorities have to give their blessing. Usually this is a mere formality, after all there could not have been a better new owner. Nevertheless, the cartel authority is responsible for competition and must therefore deal with the sale.
One of the tasks of the antitrust authorities is to assess the negative effects of a so-called concentration of power. This is due to the presence of the Merkur gambling halls and the new casinos. Ahealthy competition is missing thus - also possible effects of this fact must be researched. However, the government can be sure that Gauselmann will observe all the provisions of the State Treaty on Gaming and that there will be no problems with the required minimum distance.