Merkur Group UK

Welcome

Welcome

We are MERKUR Group UK

MERKUR GROUP UK is part of the Germany headquartered MERKUR GROUP of companies, a Euro 2.57 billion turnover international business active in the delivery of safe gambling entertainment experiences. Established in 1957, Gauselmann, now MERKUR GROUP remains a family-owned company, employing 14,000 people worldwide. Since 2000 it has invested £450m in the UK and is one of the country’s largest operators of high street entertainment centres and Bingo Clubs. Its Bingo portfolio includes Europe’s biggest venue, the 2,200 capacity club in Cricklewood, north west London.

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Get to Know Us

MERKUR GROUP UK operates a total of 177 high street entertainment centres and three Bingo Clubs. Boasting a national footprint, the contemporary MERKUR branded high-spec venues stretch from Hereford to Harlow, Dundee to Dunstable and Cardiff to Coventry. The company employs over 2,500 people in the UK and supports high street economies in 140 parliamentary constituencies.

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Safer Gambling

Vision

MERKUR GROUP UK is unequivocal in its commitment to deliver a safe and enjoyable gambling experience to every customer across every one of its venues. The MERKUR Vision is to uphold the highest possible standards of social responsibility and be recognised by external stakeholders for setting the safer gambling benchmark for the UK’s low stake, low prize gambling sector.

360 Program

MERKUR GROUP UK’s 360 Program cements the company’s commitment to safer gambling. It has been developed following close consultation with the Global Gambling Guidance Group (G4) and comprises an Advisory Board of senior executives and external specialists.

Customer Experience Group

MERKUR GROUP UK has established a Customer Experience Group to provide insight to the relationship between brand and consumer as well as monitoring the effectiveness of safer gambling undertakings. The initiative comprises four regional groups made-up of a representative sample of consumers: each group meets twice a year.

Training

MERKUR GROUP UK is committed to an on-going staff development and training programme which includes streams on social responsibility and customer interaction. The internal resource comprises two dedicated training centres located in Watford and Milton Keynes. External training is conducted by the internationally recognised Global Gambling Guidance Group (G4) and YGAM, with non-consumer facing staff also undertaking safer gambling awareness. KYC – ‘Know Your Customer’ insights and the importance of human intervention in retail environments inform the safer gambling campaign.

G4

MERKUR GROUP UK’s safer gambling undertakings have been audited by the Global Gambling Guidance Group (G4) against its international standard, widely regarded as the strongest in the industry exceeding the requirements of the Gambling Commission of Great Britain. Pieter Remmers, founder of G4, is a member of the 360 Advisory Board.

City & Guilds

MERKUR GAMING UK is working with YGAM’s wholly owned trading subsidiary YGAM Innovation which delivers City and Guilds assured training courses, for those who work in the gambling industry. Established in 1878, City & Guilds, whose President is Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, believes in the power of skills to build successful careers, businesses, and economies. For 140 years, all products and services have been designed to recognise vital workplace skills, from work relevant qualifications to apprenticeships through to accreditation and assessments. The City & Guilds goal is to ensure that people have the right skills to thrive both now and in the future.

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YGAM

The Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) is an award-winning national charity with a social purpose to inform, educate, safeguard and build digital resilience amongst young and vulnerable people. Chief executive Lee Willows, who co-founded the charity in 2014, is working with MERKUR GROUP UK to design and implement a bespoke socially responsible training programme for consumer-facing staff.

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High Street Investment

Our Venues

High Street Entertaiment Centres

MERKUR GROUP UK is one of the most popular low stake low prize high street entertainment centre brands on the UK high street. The brand has a broad customer base attracting an equal balance of both men and women. MERKUR entertainment centres fulfil an important community role: they are places where people meet with their friends, where the staff know them by their first name, where they feel comfortable and where they can enjoy safe and responsible gambling entertainment. MERKUR centres employ local people, attract customers from the community and support local supply chains.

Bingo Clubs

MERKUR GROUP UK is a pioneer in the development of bingo as a popular leisure pastime enjoyed by generations of players. The MERKUR SLOTS bingo clubs are based at Lowestoft, Northampton and Cricklewood, north West London, which holds the distinction of being Europe’s largest venue with a capacity of 2,200. The team at MERKUR is constantly exploring ways of expanding bingo’s reach and maintaining MERKUR's reputation for raising the bar for entertainment and innovation.

24h Opening

In recognition of shifting work patterns and the significance of the night time economy, 80 percent of MERKUR high street entertainment centres are open 24-hours. The 24-hour venues operate to the same exacting standards and retailing principles that have made MERKUR the go-to entertainment brand on the high street.

Investments

MERKUR GROUP UK’s safer gambling undertakings have been audited by the Global Gambling Guidance Group (G4) against its international standard, widely regarded as the strongest in the industry exceeding the requirements of the Gambling Commission of Great Britain. Pieter Remmers, founder of G4, is a member of the 360 Advisory Board.

Merkur Team

Career Opportunities

There are no glass ceilings at MERKUR GROUP UK. Instead, the focus is on creating a pleasant and progressive working environment in which individuals are valued and have the opportunity to progress. The company places huge importance on personal and professional development and has created a stand-alone Learning and Development function within the business to help team members progress into their next role or get more from their existing role.

Meet the Team

Steve Ambrose

Operations Director, Steve Ambrose, left full-time education when he was 16 to become a thermodynamic engineer. He started his gaming career as a Bingo Checker and has worked his way-up as Main Stage Caller, Assistant Manager, General Manager, Operations Manager and on to his current role.

Dawd Sultan

After five years with the company, Dawd has consistently delivered high quality results, helping him acquire multiple promotions within a short time frame. Starting out as Venue Manager, he progressed to a Cluster Manager in 2021 and became an Area Manager the following year in our growing London region. On the way, Dawd has secured awards for his outstanding team contribution and completed various international management training.

Cristina Datcu

Cristina is a shining example of how outstanding and committed candidates can thrive in the MERKUR GROUP UK environment. Joining the business in 2016 as a team member Cristina was promoted to the post of Key Holder in the same year. She then secured back-to-back promotions in each of the next three years, becoming a Supervisor in 2017, Assistant Manager in 2018 and Venue Manager in 2019.

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Community

Corporate Citizens

Cristina is a shining example of how outstanding and committed candidates can thrive in the MERKUR GROUP UK environment. Joining the business in 2016 as a team member Cristina was promoted to the post of Key Holder in the same year. She then secured back-to-back promotions in each of the next three years, becoming a Supervisor in 2017, Assistant Manager in 2018 and Venue Manager in 2019.

Merkur Initiative

As part of its on-going commitment to local communities the length and breadth of the country, MERKUR GROUP UK has created ‘MERKUR Initiative’, a programme that has raised in excess of £1m supporting smaller charities and good causes. A three-way partnership between MERKUR GROUP UK, its venue staff and its customers, MERKUR Initiative is championing those local causes that can sometimes be overlooked by the business community but are also the ones in most need of support.

Environment

The ‘Trees for Life’ initiative aims to make a sustainable contribution to the climate by reforesting forests in Germany. Launched by founder and CEO Paul Gauselmann to mark his 85th birthday, the central goal of the project is to plant a total of 85,000 deciduous trees on reforestation areas so that new forests with a high degree of diversity can arise.

UK Gambling Entertainment

Size of Industry

An economic impact survey undertaken by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) showed the UK high street entertainment centre sector had a turnover of £416m, Gross Value Added of £216m and sustained 4,227 full-time jobs. The sector’s contribution to the exchequer through tax revenues was calculated at £126.8m. For every £10 of turnover directly generated by companies operating high street entertainment centres, a further £8.04 worth of turnover is supported in the wider economy (Cebr figures for 2019).

Role in Bacta

MERKUR GROUP UK plays a full and active role in bacta, the trade association that represents the domestic amusements and gaming machine industry encompassing retailers, machine operators, high-tech manufacturers and machine suppliers for pubs, high street entertainment centres and bingo clubs. MERKUR GROUP UK is also a significant supporter of the invaluable work undertaken by the Bacta Charitable Trust which has raised more than £3.25m for a wide range of good causes.

Role in GBG

MERKUR GROUP UK senior executive Steve Sharp serves as chairman of the cross-sector strategic body, the Gambling Business Group (GBG). The GBG engages with government thinking, helps to shape the political agenda and protects the long-term future of the companies and people working within the Industry. Key areas of focus are better and more effective regulation, liaising with government and social responsibility undertakings.

German-British Chamber of Commerce

MERKUR GROUP UK is an active member of the ‘German-British Chamber of Industry & Commerce’. Founded in 1971, the business- to-business organisation provides commercial services, information and advice to 10,000 companies each year, promoting trade and investment between the United Kingdom and Germany. The Chamber of Commerce is supported by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy and has the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany as its patron.

Role in Euromat

EUROMAT, which represents the European land-based amusements and gaming industry at EU-level and consults on legislative changes impacting the sector, has welcomed MERKUR Group UK to its rank of corporate members. Through senior executives such as Stefan Bruns, CEO, MERKUR CASINO UK, who has vast experience in both manufacturing and operating across a number of European markets, MERKUR GROUP UK is able to make important contributions to the debates of the day and assist EUROMAT’s representations and lobbying activities.

Role in Bingo Association

MERKUR GROUP UK is a leading and active member of the Bingo Association with the company’s Steve Ambrose and Amanda Kiernan represented on its Executive Council. The Association, whose mission is to ‘represent, promote and develop the interests of all licensed bingo operators’, works with central government and policy makers on a broad range of issues including regulation, compliance, research, education and shaping the sector agenda.

Contacts and Links

With businesses involved in the creation of digital game content for pub, bingo and high street entertainment centres, machine operating, money handling, as well as consumer-facing high street entertainment and bingo brands – MERKUR GROUP UK has commercial touch points across the land-based gaming industry.
Do you have further questions? Please contact us at ABoulton@gauselmann.com.

360 Program

MERKUR GROUP UK is setting new standards of player protection with the launch of 360.

One of the most tangible features of 360 and one which drives its objectives throughout the business is the appointment of a Customer Experience Manager, a new dedicated, single role post that will report directly to the COO.
Sascha Blodau, General Manager MERKUR GROUP UK explained:

“When it comes to protecting the vulnerable and the very small percentage of players who may experience problems from low stake gambling entertainment, you can never do enough, it’s a journey without there actually being a final destination. “I believe that in 360 we have created the most comprehensive safer gambling programme in the UK to complement what is the UK industry’s most professional and dedicated consumer-facing team.”

CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE GROUP

Understanding the motivations of players, the relationship between the brand and its customers as well as monitoring the effectiveness of the company’s 360 safer gambling programme lie at the heart of MERKUR Group UK’s Customer Experience Group initiative. The four regional Groups – covering the North, Midlands, Inside M25 and the South – feature a sample of customers representative of the brand demographic.
Customer Experience Manager, Lola Wood, who leads the initiative, believes it’s vital to accumulate as much knowledge and insight as possible. She said:

“Understanding player motivations is crucial to plotting a happy and productive customer journey which includes safe gambling. The overwhelming majority of players do not experience any problems with keeping their gambling safe and enjoyable and it is important that we learn from their lived experience as it is that we work with and provide support to the less than 1% that experience problems with gambling.”

G4

360 has been developed following close consultation with the Global Gambling Guidance Group (G4) whose accreditation programme helps organisations to establish a responsible gambling culture and implement initiatives that minimise the harms caused by problem gambling.
G4’s wide-ranging audit, includes a cultural assessment based on interviews conducted among staff working at all levels of the organisation, with the findings documented in a bespoke Action Work Programme. G4 founder and responsible gambling expert, Pieter Remmers is part of the 360 Advisory Board. Mr Remmers has worked on the development of safer gambling policies for many of the industry’s most recognised brands, as well as government agencies and industry trade bodies. He has gained experience in jurisdictions including the Netherlands, South Africa, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Malaysia, Singapore, Canada, Malta and Sweden.
Pieter Remmers confirmed:

“I have been impressed by the commitment and the enthusiasm shown by the senior team both for the culture and the practicalities of delivering safer gambling. I am confident 360 will set new standards in UK low stake gambling entertainment.”

News

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High Street Entertainment Centres

The MERKUR customer experience is based on a forensic attention to detail aligned to leading retail standards including high quality, comfortable and contemporary interiors.
COO Mark Schertle confirmed:

“The reason customers attend high street entertainment centres is to play the very best low stake, low prize gaming machines – but the reason they choose the MERKUR brand is down to the quality of the experience they receive when they are with us."

“Our focus is to make every millimetre of the customer journey smooth, trouble-free and as close to perfection as possible. Modern consumers have exacting standards and our mission is to always be ahead of the curve and to consistently deliver the best customer experience in high street gaming.”

Bingo Clubs

MERKUR GROUP UK has been at the centre of initiatives introduced to keep the bingo experience fresh, relevant and attractive to a younger demographic. It was one of the first brands to introduce ‘Noisy Bingo’ areas where customers are able to break with traditional bingo etiquette and make as much noise as they like, alongside Meltdown – a unique marriage of drag show meets glow in the dark bingo. At the Cricklewood club everything is catered for an audience of millennials and zoomers. Facebook content is geared towards constant interaction which directs the Facebook algorithm into promoting Cricklewood’s communications to the top of users’ news feeds. Other concepts include no-paper bingo, Ladies Nights, psychic nights and clairvoyants – to name just a few.

Investments

One of the most tangible features of 360 and one which drives its objectives throughout the business is the appointment of a Customer Experience Manager, a new dedicated, single role post that will report directly to the COO.

“The growth of MERKUR GROUP UK is a further sign of Gauselmann’s faith in and commitment to the domestic market. Set against the backdrop of retail business closures and a record number of vacant commercial properties, Merkur entertainment centres are making an important contribution to the revitalisation of the high street. The conversations that we are having with our constituency MPs are about the importance of having healthy businesses contributing to local economies and employing local people. We have ambitious growth plans for the future and will play a full and active role in reinvigorating Britain’s high streets.”

Merkur Initiative

MERKUR Initiative draws on the insight and local knowledge of staff and customers who nominate the good causes they want to support. Money raised through the venues is pooled nationally with MERKUR GROUP UK contributing to the final donation. Mark Schertle, COO confirmed:

“The causes that our venues are working with are those that typically might not attract support from the business world. “It might be a local school that’s short of equipment, an old people’s home that wants to throw an unforgettable Christmas Party for its residents, or a football team that needs a new playing kit – there are numerous initiatives for which a Merkur contribution makes a huge difference, enabling them to continue to do brilliant work in their community.”