The casino industry has grown so massive that it has begun a process similar to many other international companies. That is to say, companies are merging, being bought out, and generally compressing into conglomerates and massive companies that employ thousands and thousands of people.
Merkur Gaming has had a similar fate, as it is today part of the Gauselmann Group. However, the company and the brand has not simply vanished into the larger parent company, as would have been the case if this was just a small development team. As it happens, it’s everything but small, and a very known and liked brand in its core areas. Not only when it comes to gambling online, but in the land-based area as well.
If it’s slots that you’re looking for, the company has you covered. There are several hundred available. This is in fact such a number, that it is unlikely that you’d find all of them in a single online casino. Plenty of these follow the guidelines set by classic slots, but in recent years the selection has been augmented with plenty of modern influences.
The games are available in pretty much all the significant online casinos, at least when it comes to playing in offshore online casinos. There should be no shortages of slots to try, bonuses to enjoy, and casinos to browse. Have a look at the history of the company, read our opinion on the slots produced, or make your way to the source by choosing one of our suggested Canadian online casinos!
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Back in the Days
Merkur Gaming is an old enough company to talk about things like tradition. They were established in 2005, originally concentrating on the arena of land-based gaming. Their headquarters were established in Germany, and this is where the company still resides. The parent company likewise originates from Germany.
The actual history of the company actually reaches back to 1995, with the Merkur Gaming brand being the result of a merger of different operations. It’s actually quite hard to follow these name changes, as different aspects of the business were named in a similar manner, only to be rebranded and reorganised a few years later. Not to mention additional foreign subsidiaries. For the purpose of this article, we are going to talk about what Merkur Gaming is today. Especially in the online casino space.
The year 2015 was quite pivotal in this sense, as the Merkur Gaming brand was retained for online space, with half a dozen similarly named divisions also running inside the same company. By this point, the company had already expanded to cover several different jurisdictions, with licences from the likes of the UK Gambling Commission. This also saw the company acquire and integrate Edict, a platform built for online casino business. Not only did all this allow turning the popular land-based slots into online versions, but at the same time it was possible to support them on mobile devices.
Given that this gaming group is no small fry, indeed it’s one of the biggest companies around, it’s no surprise that the following years saw a variety of arrangements and partnerships form. These not only include the usual suspects of platform providers, but also other software houses like NetEnt.
Suffice to say, this is the road the company has kept on. Their selection of games has been translated entirely to the online space, and they have also produced a considerable number of games that are available only in online casinos. At the same time, their presence has spread to cover pretty much the whole world. You should have no problem finding Canadian and offshore casinos to play at.
Hundreds of Online Slots
Where to start? Suffice it to say, we aren’t going to take a look at the land-based gaming in this article, even though that still seems to be the most important area of gaming for the company itself.
Needless to say, with such a long history and with such a variety of games in use, the differences between some of the games can be quite staggering. Especially if you are comparing the very first classic slots, with very much nostalgic graphics, and their latest more modern online slots.
Check for yourself, with this list of the most popular Merkur Gaming online slots:
- Queen of Mars
- Succubus Offer
- Multi Supreme 81
- Golden Gate
- Hot Flame
- Sicilian Sun
- Blazing Star
- Super 7 Reels
- 221B Baker Street
- El Torero
- Wishing Well
- Theatre of Rome
- Endless Summer
- Big Buck Bunny
This is obviously a very miniscule part of the selection, and only represents some of the games that are either currently popular, or have retained their popularity over the years. Looking at these, and other games, we can draw some conclusions on the similarities amongst the selection of games.
The first thing to note is that paylines rule supreme here. That’s not to say they are the only method and mechanic in use, but it’s fair to say it’s what you’re presented with most of the time. Occasionally, you will also stumble upon ways to win. Which is quite a treat when it is served in a graphical setup that seems far too aged to be paired with such a modern innovation.
The graphics will take you back…
…at least a couple of decades, to the era when online slots weren’t even a thing. The whole interface is pretty much designed around this same setup. That’s not always the case, but in a lot of these slots you’re looking at a screen that is definitely built with nostalgia in mind. It’s not even about land-based games any more, as those have long ago been updated to more modern setups too.
So definitely, an acquired taste and something that isn’t in line with what most other software companies produce these days. Yet, it’s not really the graphics that would bother you. They might be done in an old style, but they’re still detailed and often even come with animations. For us, the interface is a bit more problematic. It could certainly use an update here and there.
What about the game features?
Let’s start with the basics. We already know that paylines is the most common setup, and with that comes either a three-reel or five-reel setup. Usually, this also means that there are three symbols on each reel. RTP, or return to player, is hovering around 96%, which is the standard these days, and can be considered good.
If we look at the themes, there are some that receive a lot more attention than others. First one of these is fruits, which play the main role in plenty of different online slots. According to Merkur Gaming itself, other major categories include Egypt, Asia, and Fantasy. We’d add different animal-themed slots to this list. And as of late, more freeform and popular-culture-based games have also made their mark.
Of course, one of the most important things of note are the possible wins. Medium variance seems to be the most popular solution, which would indicate that these slots aren’t so hell-bent on laying everything on one good roll of the reels. Though you will obviously find high variance slots too, in almost equal numbers to low variance games.
All in all, 5000 times the line bet seems to be the upper limit for individual wins. One thousand times is the more common trend, and some games dip below this. That is, of course, the basic wins. Special features do occasionally give opportunities to score more substantial pots.
Is There Anything Special?
Bonus spins activated via scatters, together with the gamble feature where each correct guess doubles the win, are the two features that are found on almost each and every one of these slots. If you’re looking for a bit more, or you’re simply accustomed to a wider set of specials, there are luckily options beyond this.
You can for example find cascading wins, which can even lead to bonus spins if the wins tumble on the required number of times. Sometimes normal symbols can turn into wilds, once again during the extra spins triggered by scatters, or other symbols. Special symbols that take on different aspects are also at times present, though they only tend to pay instant wins.
Sticky symbols, and other such minor modifications are available here and there. Multipliers occasionally show up too. But other than these, which can be considered the very basics, you’re not likely to run into any other features. And if you’re planning to spend an evening with unique mechanics or trademarked bonuses, you are better off looking at other game providers.
That is to say, the special bit is that this gaming company concentrates on the core gameplay experience that has been tested over decades and decades of operations. It might not always be that you crave for this sort of nostalgic experience, but when you get the itch to roll these reels, you know that Merkur Gaming is the company to go for.
It wouldn’t be much of a review if we didn’t touch the parent company at least a little bit. The roots of this go back to 1957, so you know they have been in business quite long. Back then it was still a one-man business, run by Paul Gauselmann himself. The company has been in the entertainment business since the very start, though that start came with jukeboxes rather than slots.
But it didn’t take long for the company to move to the casino sphere. Slot machines in pubs and arcades, in their hundreds. Within a few decades, the industry was transformed, and the company itself started operating gaming halls. It was around the 1970s – 80s when the Merkur casino brand was born. At the same time, the company established its production facilities for its own slot machines. This became known as Merkur B.
It was in the early 90s that the company established itself as the market leader in Germany, which led to success internationally as well. Massive expansion followed, and this led to the establishment of Merkur Gaming as the online and land-based casino branch concentrated on developing the slot games to their fullest.
The Legal Side of Things
Officially, the company holds licences in Alderney, United Kingdom, and Malta. Their long history and the fact that they operate land-based casinos and arcade halls means that the company is certainly legit and trustworthy. Canadian players have no shortage of online casinos to enjoy these games in.
For further information, check out our exclusive interview.