MERKUR GROUP History (former Gauselmann Group)

  1. 1957

    The starting shot

    Every story has a beginning – that of the Gauselmann Group dates back to 1957. In the spring of that year, Paul Gauselmann lays the foundation stone for what today is the Gauselmann corporate group by starting up a sideline installing jukeboxes. He begins with 17 Bergmann jukeboxes, while having practically no equity capital.

    One year prior to that, Paul Gauselmann had already made a name for himself when, as a vending machine technician (and just 22 years old), he invented a remote selection box with a telephone dial for German jukeboxes. Up to then, only American jukeboxes had such as a feature. The remote selection box goes down as Paul Gauselmann’s first invention and the first patent in his entrepreneurial history. It is followed by more than 300 patents in the years to come.

    The exceptional development from one-man business to international corporate group is a success story that only seldom occurs in Germany.

    History_1957 Paul Gauselmann
  2. History_1964 Paul Gauselmann



    Paul Gauselmann makes the leap into self-employment. The company is doing well; it now has 15 employees and installs 300 slot machines in the pub and restaurant sector. In addition, Paul Gauselmann buys up second-hand American jukeboxes and reinstalls the overhauled technology into a new cabinet. These jukeboxes are three to four times cheaper, which leads to a boom in installations. He undertakes all activities such as production and retail himself – alongside the installation business with his brothers Willi and Eugen.

  3. 1974

    The first arcade

    Paul Gauselmann invents the modern arcade and opens the company’s first branch in Delmenhorst, Lower Saxony. He designs the arcade based on the standards of a four-star hotel and thus revolutionises the sector. The success factors are innovative games, outstanding service, highly-trained staff and a pleasant atmosphere. These factors are just as relevant today. On this basis, he develops MERKUR Casino into the most successful arcade operator in Germany.

    Hitsory_1974 Arcade Delmenhorst
  4. History_1976 Merkur Sun


    The sun rises

    The laughing Merkur sun is the Gauselmann Group’s logo. The first Merkur sun is drawn by artist and long-standing friend of Paul Gauselmann, Werner Ganteföhr, in 1976 – a Mercury year according to the 100-year calendar. In the intervening years, the design has undergone a number of slight modifications, each time letting the Merkur sun shine brighter.

  5. History_1976 Merkur B


    Start of production

    In this year, the foundation stone is laid for the present production site in Lübbecke. The first slot machine developed and produced by Gauselmann is also blazing a trail. It is launched on the market under the name “Merkur B” in 1977 and is enthusiastically received by guests.

  6. 1983

    The top-seller

    This year is a key year for the Gauselmann Group. Discs instead of reels now turn in the new “Merkur Disc” slot machine for the first time. With over 40,000 units sold, “Merkur Disc” is to this day the top-selling AWP machine in Germany. Thanks to this success, the Gauselmann Group becomes market leader as a manufacturer of gaming machines in Germany in 1985, holding more than 50 per cent of market share.

    History_1984 Merkur Disc
  7. History_1986 Arcade Amsterdam



    Having conquered the German market, the Gauselmann Group expands its horizons and seeks to enter into other European countries with its successful products and concepts. The first international arcade is therefore opened in Amsterdam, marking the start of the company’s international triumph.

  8. 1990


    Since the early 1990s, the Gauselmann Group is becoming firmly established on international markets also and draws attention due to its games and technology ‘made in Germany’. With the ATRONIC subsidiary, managed by Michael Gauselmann, Germany’s market leader in the gaming sector makes its debut on the international casino stage. In 1998, ATRONIC is the first and only European company to be granted a manufacturing licence for the US state of Nevada, opening the doors for its innovative products to the largest casino market.

    History_1990-Michael Gauselmann-Atronic
  9. History_2000 XTiP Sportwetten


    New business segments

    At the turn of the millennium, the decision is taken to develop new business segments. One of these is the sports betting market, which is developing fast in Germany despite the lack of a regulatory framework. In this uncharted territory, the Gauselmann Group initially recruits expertise in 2005 by acquiring a controlling interest in Austrian betting specialist Cashpoint, before establishing its own presence as a betting provider in the only German state with a fully approved licensing regime in 2014.

  10. 2012


    By taking over the British arcade chain Praesepe, the Gauselmann Group makes the largest acquisition in the history of the corporate group. In one move, the Gauselmann Group gains access to the British market, which becomes more and more important over the coming years and develops into the second-largest market after Germany.

    History_2012 Beacon Bingo
  11. History_2014 Casino Leuna


    Extension of the portfolio

    With the opening of the first casino in December 2014 in Leuna-Günthersdorf (Saxony-Anhalt), the Gauselmann Group succeeds in taking another significant step in its development. The casino is operated by Merkur Spielbanken Sachsen-Anhalt GmbH & Co. KG and its partner, Stadtcasino Baden AG. The German casino segment is now also benefiting from the know-how of the games makers. In the meantime, the Gauselmann Group has a participating interest in ten venues in Germany.

  12. Advisory Council_Gauselmann Family Foundation


    Safeguarding the future

    In order to guarantee the continued existence of the Gauselmann Group as a unit into the future, the company is transferred to the “Gauselmann Family Foundation” in 2016. For this, the entire entrepreneurial family bring their respective shares into the foundation. The foundation’s Advisory Board and Board of Directors are predominantly made up of members of the Gauselmann family. Sustainable management made the Gauselmann Group strong – and the structure is now also geared towards the long term and sustainability.

  13. Casino-Duisburg


    The acquisition of WestSpiel

    The Gauselmann Group expands its portfolio and takes over the state-owned casinos in North Rhine-Westphalia. This means that the group of companies has been awarded the casino locations in Aachen, Bad Oeynhausen, Dortmund-Hohensyburg and Duisburg. Linked to the takeover is the option to operate two further locations in NRW: The first opened its doors in Monheim in 2023 and another will open in Siegburg in 2025.