Globally active Gauselmann Group, one of the “world’s leading gaming companies”, has expressed regret and announced removal of its Hindu god Shiva themed slot gambling game titled “Shiva”, after upset Hindus protested calling it highly inappropriate.
Paul Gauselmann, Chairman of Espelkamp (Germany) headquartered Gauselmann AG, in a signed letter to distinguished Hindu religious leader Rajan Zed (who spearheaded the protest) received in Nevada (USA) on December 23, wrote: “We understand the confusion and irritation concerning this…Therefore, we will immediately remove this game from our games portfolio and no longer offer this. At no point in time did we have the intention to insult the religious or ideological feelings of Hindus. We truly regret the confusion this has caused and you may rest assured that we will be even more diligent concerning the design and the designation of our games in the future.”
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Nevada today, thanked Gauselmann AG and its Chairman Paul Gauselmann for understanding the concerns of worldwide Hindu community, which thought usage of Lord Shiva on slot gambling game was highly inappropriate.Rajan Zed suggested multinational corporations to send their senior executives for training in religious and cultural sensitivity so that they had an understanding of the feelings of customers and communities when creating new products or launching advertising campaigns. If asked, he or other Hindu scholars would gladly assist, Zed added. Zed, in an earlier statement, had indicated that Lord Shiva, who was highly revered in Hinduism, was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not for promoting gambling on slots for mercantile greed of an international company. Inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees, Zed pointed out. Christian (United Church of Christ pastor Reverend Richard L. Smith), Buddhist (Jikai’ Phil Bryan) and Jewish (Rabbi ElizaBeth W. Beyer) leaders had also come out to the support of protesting Hindus on this issue. Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken lightly. Symbols of any faith, larger or smaller, should not be mishandled, Rajan Zed had noted. Developed by Merkur Division of Gauselmann Group, “Shiva” slot gambling machine showed a blue four-armed Lord Shiva with dark red lips carrying damru in one hand. This five-reels and 50 win-lines gambling machine, besides Lord Shiva symbol (which substituted all symbols) also showed symbols of cobra, Taj Mahal, monkey, etc. “Step into the realm of the god Shiva and experience an exciting adventure!” website announcement said. It could be played live on various online casinos. In Hinduism, Lord Shiva, along with Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu, forms the great triad of Hindu deities. Moksh (liberation) is the ultimate goal of Hinduism. Globally active Gauselmann Group, launched in 1957, reportedly did over ?1.8 billion business in 2013. Merkur Gaming, whose tagline is “More than just a game”, has a large game selection and develops “cutting-edge casino machines” with presence in various countries of Europe; besides Mexico, Peru andColombia.