Merkur is under investigation by the Gambling Commission

  • 2 min read
Merkur is under investigation by the Gambling Commission

UK Gambling Commission is investigating Merkur, a prominent high street slot machine company, over allegations of exploiting a vulnerable customer.

Merkur, a German-owned company operating Britain’s second-largest network of adult gaming centres, allowed a vulnerable customer with lung cancer to lose over £2,000 in 16 hours, while staff reserved her favorite slot machine and facilitated her continued play despite her physical condition.

The Gambling Commission, empowered to levy financial penalties on license-breaking companies, is investigating the matter.

Merkur has attributed the incident to branch staff, asserting that regulatory-mandated customer protection measures were fully implemented.

According to its Companies House filings, Merkur’s revenues surged by 17% to £202 million last year, buoyed by its UK expansion efforts, which saw the opening of 100 new venues since 2020.

Merkur, owned by Germany’s Gauselmann Group, currently operates 228 sites in the UK, ranking as the industry’s second-largest player after Admiral Slots, owned by Austrian Novomatic.

Although Merkur’s results did not reference the Gambling Commission’s investigation, the regulator declined to comment on specific cases.

However, in an extensive portion of its results statement addressing regulatory risk and social responsibility, the company emphasized concerns about potential business impacts from “negative publicity.”

Merkur and the broader slot machine sector face a pivotal moment, with the company’s expansion plans encountering local opposition, exemplified by its recent withdrawal of a premises application in Sheffield due to resident objections.

Despite recent government initiatives to restrict digital slot machines with lower maximum stakes, there are expectations of relaxed regulations on high street slots. Proposed reforms may permit venues to carry more £2-a-spin machines relative to those with maximum £1 stakes.

Merkur declined to comment on the matter, while the Gambling Commission maintains its policy of not confirming or denying investigations into individual operators.

Merkur Gaming is an internationally recognized casino brand, functioning under the prestigious Gauselmann Group. It was founded on the pillars of advancement, tradition, and passion. Along with over 1...