The German market has become a key focus many industry organisations, with a multitude of factors making the potential of the region an attractive proposition.

Recent moves saw the country’s 16 states agree to a transition period to ensure that operators are fully compliant with the draft for the new legal framework, Glücksspielstaatsvertrag, by October 15, before the official start date of July 1, 2021.

This will allow operators to offer casino style gaming and poker as long as such activities are fully-compliant with the draft.

Online gambling operators must meet all licensing requirements by the aforementioned October 15 deadline, including a range of player protection guidelines and safer gambling measures.

Furthermore, from December 15 German states will enforce a decision that all operators must adopt a €1 maximum stake limit on online slots, alongside a 5-second minimum duration on slot spins.

With much ground still to tread before federal relaunch occurs next year, Tamas Kusztos, head of sales and account management at Kalamba Games, has spoken to CasinoBeats to examine German igaming, looking at restrictive measures, preferences, tactics, and utilising past experience.

CasinoBeats: What makes the German market so attractive for online casino players?

Tamas Kusztos: The first one is the sheer size of the country itself. There’s a large population and average earnings are relatively high which make the potential value of players high. The second reason is perhaps more subjective, but in my experience German players are pretty easy to satisfy. It is pretty well established what they like which makes it fairly straightforward for an online casino supplier to make the most out of the German clientele. 

Game production values will have to be high”

CB: Several restricted measures have been adopted in Germany such as state limits and jackpot bans. How will this change the way that suppliers will develop content?

TK: The main thing that will change is that retention will have even more focus.

It has, of course, been a hot topic in the slots market for quite some time, but providers will now be trying even harder to retain more players for longer. We have seen a trend of online gaming in general, especially the regulated markets, moving in that direction anyway.

We would naturally like more customers to return over and over again. We want someone to come back every week and spend within their budget and have a great time in the casino or on a particular game. That’s how the online business will thrive and will grow over the long term.

Basically gamification, customer service and the quality of games in general will be the differentiator, and that’s on both providers and operators to address.

CB: What sort of tactics do you think slot developers will end up or slot developers specifically will end up using?

TK: Gambling will become more of a social thing because the maximum limit is so low. It’s not exactly going to be the thrill of winning big – it will be the social aspect and making sure that retention factors, gamification side missions and different functionalities are top notch. Similarly, game production values will have to be high and match those of other entertainment media.

CB: And so how profitable will the German market remain once the new legislation enters into force?

TK: I believe it will still be a very strong market. The way to monetize the market will just be a little bit different there. There won’t be VIP players so the industry will have to adjust to a volume model. Player values will decrease but because of the social acceptance of gaming, and slots in particular, the player numbers will increase and that’s how it will balance itself out over time.

Everything that enhances the player experience will be key”

CB: Do German players have any specific preferences that make them different to other markets?

TK: The classic games that resemble land-based titles with popular themes like ancient Egypt and book games work very well with them. Taking inspiration from what works in the land-based sector is therefore often a safe card in Germany. Mobile usage is also a lot higher than your average market because of the good infrastructure so it’s worth considering creating games that are optimised for mobile.

CB: What has Kalamba’s experience been in the German market so far and how do you see the future once the new legislation is entered into force?

TK: Fortunately, we have very good relationships with some of the leading operators in the German market. All of them are going to fully comply with the upcoming legislation and have made it part of their business strategy.

At the beginning when the legislation comes into force, we will just have to analyse the player behaviour and see in what direction the market is going and how we can fully capitalise on this new opportunity. Germany will be a market that could completely change with providers having to adapt to the new conditions as there will be a lot of new players entering the market once it’s completely regulated. 

We have to work very closely with our partners and work out the best way to make the player experience as good as possible and this will lead us to success in a new environment.

You could say a laser-like focus on promotional tools and social gaming elements, such as those that are coming in our own Kalamba Bullseye platform, are going to be very important. Basically, everything that enhances the player experience will be key such as promotional tools, UX elements, and/or in-game gamification features. Now more than ever we will have to try and innovate to provide great entertainment.