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Germany – Merkur forced to close remaining venues in Wildeshausen due to increased taxes

By - 22 January 2024

German operator Merkur Casino has decided to close its arcade on the Westring in Wildeshausen on January 31, citing an increase in the municipal entertainment tax from 24 to 26 per cent by 2023.

Merkur says the tax increase has finally made operations uneconomical, according to Merkur Casino Gesellschaft, a subsidiary of the Merkur Group.

Together with the closure of the Big Star arcade on the corner of Dr.-Eckener-Straße and Reepmoorsweg, a total of 12 jobs will be lost in Wildeshausen. The other location, also belonging to Merkur Casino had already been closed last year due to the high tax burden and also .

The entertainment tax in the district town has risen steadily in recent years, claimbing from 15 per cent in 2015, 20 per cent in 2016 and then 24 per cent in 2020.

Benjamin Bredenkamp, Managing Director of National Sales at Merkur Casino, said: “Due to the renewed increase in the entertainment tax, we can no longer guarantee the high quality of our gaming offer and the first-class service in the branch to the same extent. In contrast to other sectors of the economy, the company is not in a position to counteract the financial burden of higher gaming prices or longer opening hours due to strict legal restrictions. Other adjustments, for example in the area of rent, are also no longer possible. The savings potential has been exhausted.

“We very much regret this step, especially for our long-standing employees,” Mr Bredenkamp added. “But the warnings that not only employees would lose their jobs, but that Wildeshausen would also lose a significant part of the entertainment tax revenue, had simply been dismissed by the city. When we wanted to explain the background at the decisive city council meeting, we were unfortunately cut off with the votes of a majority of the council members.”

The company has always offered its customers a high-quality, entertaining and, above all, safe gaming experience. The employees have been intensively trained in the areas of addiction prevention and player protection, and the site has been inspected and certified annually by TÜV Rheinland.

“With the closure of another legal and professionally managed gambling venue, illegal gambling will once again be promoted, as the gambling guests will be looking for alternatives to pursue their desire to play,” the Merkur statement concluded.

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