“The Merkur brand is a firm favorite with operators and players throughout Latin America”

The latest edition of the Peru Gaming Show, held in June in the capital city of Lima, was a special one for the Peruvian subsidiary of Merkur Gaming. The Gauselmann Group brand and the event itself were both celebrating landmark anniversaries – 10 years and two decades respectively. Fittingly, the company brought its wide range of gaming products for the occasion at what was once again the biggest booth space at PGS.

“The 2023 edition of the Peru Gaming Show was a truly excellent event,” David Orrick, Director of Industry Relations for Merkur, tells Yogonet in an exclusive interview. In addition to discussing the company’s success at the expo, Orrick explains the key changes in the Latin America gaming market, the company’s plans for the region and why online gaming shouldn’t be seen as a threat to the land-based industry.

The growth of the iGaming industry in Latin America has been a significant one over the last two years, amid the backdrop of an evolving regulatory process in many of the major markets in the region. How does this changing landscape affect Merkur’s plans for LatAm, and in which ways is the company keeping up with these updates?

Merkur, as a key element of the Gauselmann family of companies, is an entity devoted to the land-based gaming sector; in both casino and arcade markets. With over a decade of success and experience in Latin American gaming, the Merkur brand is a firm favorite with operators and players throughout the region.

Through our subsidiary companies in Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and Peru we are able to constantly assess and update our marketing and product development strategies in what is without doubt one of the world’s most dynamic and vibrant markets.

Has Merkur noticed changes in preferences and demand from players after the pandemic? Is the expansion of online gaming affecting the world of land-based casinos? How has Merkur’s product proposition changed amid these trends?

In early 2020 the global Covid 19 pandemic became a terrible reality. In a gaming climate of enforced lockdowns the whole financial structure of the industry, around the world, was placed in serious jeopardy. Many predictions were published that this would lead to the ‘end of the mass land-based gaming industry.’ But the land-based industry itself held firm to the belief that far from the ‘end’ this could and would be the start of a ‘new beginning.’

Online gaming produced explosive growth and that sector’s expansion, together with the gradual legalization of sports betting, gave the whole gaming industry a new dimension. With the end of the pandemic and the permitted re-opening of land-based gaming operations that ‘new beginning’ was soon in coming. With it, players that had been denied their recreation of choice for almost two years returned en masse to gaming floors, with new and higher expectations for their gaming entertainment. Merkur had successfully predicted this outcome, and rose to the challenge.

Throughout the pandemic lockdowns Merkur’s research and development teams had not stopped (it is notable to mention that throughout lockdown Merkur’s global workforce of some 14,000 employees were largely retained in their positions) and a stream of new product innovations was the result.

So the landscape of gaming of today has broadly an equal split between online and traditional land-based sectors. Rather than cannibalize themselves they both innovate on the backs of each other’s ideas in a productive symbiosis. Through this process Merkur continues to grow and expand: meeting the challenges and rising to meet expectations.

Merkur has a vast presence in LatAm at large. Which trends would you say have been particularly noticeable in the region?

In LatAm, both operators and players have become increasingly more ‘game savvy’ in recent times. This is demonstrated by players’ desire for ever great standards of gaming entertainment and by operators looking for products (as was seen during the recent Peru Gaming Show) that can and will catch the public expectations. 

Merkur Gaming Peru has recently celebrated its first 10 years of operation in its home country. What is Merkur’s current position in this competitive market?

Merkur Gaming Peru is of course delighted to be a major supplier to the Peruvian casino industry and, under the direction of General Manager Ronald Diaz, the brand continues to grow and succeed with both operators and players. Merkur Gaming Peru is, together with its sister Merkur companies in Argentina, Colombia and Mexico, a significant part of the Merkur brand’s overall success strategy in LatAm. 

Merkur Gaming Peru’s 10th anniversary coincided with Peru Gaming Show’s 20th edition. What did Merkur prepare for this major regional event, and what were some of the showcase’s highlights?

The 2023 edition of the Peru Gaming Show was a truly excellent event: welcoming visitors not just from Peru but also from throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Fitting, then, that both Merkur and the show itself were celebrating landmark anniversaries.

With a new booth design (once again the biggest exhibitor booth space at PGS) Merkur displayed a wide range of products from its portfolio. The Linked Jackpots Link Zone 2, Solar Link and the Egyptian-themed Five, where five cash pot towers are waiting to be filled during the re-spin feature, were joined by Merkur Mystery; the latest star in the Merkur collection with a hit feature that has already proved to be extremely popular with Peruvian players.