Following the introduction of what some believe to be the strictest gaming legislation in Germany, the number of arcades in Berlin has fallen from 584 to 385 by the end of 2018.
Last year, around 100 arcades in Berlin had to shut up shop. All the ‘old’ licences for existing halls have now expired, but there are still many arcades in operation that do not meet the required requirements. City councilor Christiane Heiß said that in Tempelhof-Schöneberg, only for two of the current 35 arcades holds a valid licence with 11 closing since 2016
It was the Social Democrats who were responsible for the crackdown which came into effect about eight years ago, although it was backed up with votes of the SPD, CDU and Greens in the Berlin House of Representatives.
Since June 2011, the new legislation sets new gambling halls very narrow parameters within which to operate. There is only one gaming room allowed per slot hall and they must be a minimum distance of 500 meters away from the nearest slot hall and at least 200 meters away from secondary schools. They must close at 3am and aren’t allowed to open until 11 clock in the morning. Each slot hall can only operate eight slots instead of 12 with complimentary food and drink banned.
SPD delegate Buchholz said: “Following raids by police, tax investigation and public order offices, mass violations were detected, but many operators pay the penalties from the petty cash. We have responded with a tenfold increase in the fine from €50,000 to up to €500,000.”