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Germany – Antiquated state gambling law threatens 1000’s of jobs in Rhineland-Palatinate

By - 18 December 2020

The state law amending the state gaming law (LGlüG) has been introduced into the Rhineland-Palatinate state parliament. It stipulates a minimum distance between state-licensed arcades as well as between children’s and youth facilities of usually 500 m.

The umbrella association Die Deutsche Automatenwirtschaft eV (DAW) and the Automaten-Verband Rheinland-Pfalz eV (AVRP) warned of the fatal consequences that a passing of the law would have on the entire industry of commercial slot machine games in Rhineland-Palatinate would have around 4,000 employees.

“The present draft law means the end of more than every second state-licensed gaming hall in Rhineland-Palatinate and the destruction of 2,500 jobs,” warned DAW board spokesman Georg Stecker. “The digital age requires modern regulation that actually takes youth and player protection seriously. The idea of ​​minimum distances is antiquated and reveals a regulatory logic that obviously stems from a pre-digital era. Playing on the Internet has long since fundamentally changed the gaming market and finally reduced the minimum distances for gambling halls to absurdity.”

The state government should not act hastily, according to Stecker. “Hurrying is a bad advisor.” The commercial slot machine game in Rhineland-Palatinate needs regulation based on qualitative criteria that strengthens youth and player protection and maintains proper operations, according to the DAW board spokesman.

“The state government must not jeopardise our entrepreneurial existence in the midst of the Corona crisis. Family businesses, often run by the 2nd or 3rd generation, are about to end,” said Wolfgang Götz, 1st Chairman of the AVRP. He considers demands that arcade operators should have moved to commercial areas in the past to be ‘absurd,’ since the existing legal situation has made new settlements practically impossible. The fact that the previously banned online gambling market is legalised in the middle of the year, while at the same time more than 300 gambling halls in the country are threatened with closure due to insufficient distance, causes Götz to shake his head: “Where are there minimum distances on the Internet?”

“The draft law is fuelling great uncertainty and fear in the workforce. Many fear for their jobs, ”says Ralf Schäfer-Roye, Chairman of the Works Council at Löwen Entertainment based in Bingen am Rhein. In particular, the often semi-skilled and unskilled service staff, 75% women, would have great difficulties finding a new job if they were to lose their current one due to the law,” Schäfer-Roye added.

Löwen Entertainment manufactures gaming machines and operates amusement arcades. The company employs around 600 people at its location in Bingen am Rhein.

Caption: Georg Stecker

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