Germany slot gaming associations have warned that the new regulations set by the State of Rheinland-Pfalz could kill the industry.
Uproar Against Regulations
German game machine trading associations Die Deutsche Automatenwirtschaft (DAW) and Automaten-Verband Rheinland-Pfalz (AVRP) have taken a stance against the German State of Rheinland-Pfalz’ planned Gaming Act regulation. The industry warns that the move could kill profits for a sizeable portion of the market.
The planned amendment is currently under consideration in the Landestag. If approved in its current state, the amendment would introduce strict new regulations that would require all gambling halls to be at least 500 meters away from schools and youth facilities. According to the trade associations, this would force more than half of all licensed operators to cease operations.
Many Jobs at Stake
DAW board spokesman Georg Stecker has warned that the draft law would mean the end of more than half of all state-licensed gambling halls, which in turn would lead to a dramatic unemployment spike across the industry. Currently, Rheinland-Pfalz’s gambling slots industry employs over 4000 people. According to Mr. Stecker, 2500 of them stand to lose their employment if the amendment is passed.
“Hundreds of the mostly second or third-generation family-run vending machine companies would stand in front of the ruins of their business and 2,500 people in Rheinland-Pfalz would lose their jobs.”–Georg Stecker, DAW board spokesman
AVRP Chairman Wolfgang Götz called the planned amendment “a slap in the face” for the ordinary medium-sized gaming slots companies in Rheinland-Pfalz and has warned that the economic impact would be particularly devastating, given the ongoing economic crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“And while more than every second state-licensed amusement arcade in the country under threat of closure on July 1, 2021, the online gaming market is being legalized at the same time, where there are naturally no minimum distances. Nobody understands that anymore,” Mr. Götz said.
Move Against Problem Gambling
The State of Rheinland-Pfalz’ move aims to stem the rise of problem gambling among children, teenagers and young adults. Problem gambling – also known as gambling addiction – has spiked up this year, catalyzed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Governments across the world have launched various campaigns to stem the tide. Most recently, the Estonian Government announced its own move to address the problem.
Mr. Götz believes that slot games do not pose a significant threat to children. Instead, he stressed that the online gaming market held a much greater risk for children and adolescents.
The online gaming market in Rheinland-Pfalz is currently in a transitional state as it prepares for upcoming regulations, which will take full effect on 1 July 2021. Currently, the market can only offer online casino games if it keeps to the rules set by the Fourth State Treaty on Gambling.