Operators of gambling halls around Germany may lose their licenses as new, stricter, regulations are set to enter into force as of January 2017, news outlet EurActiv reported.
The new regulations that are slated to be introduced early next year will affect gambling facilities known as arcades. There are thousands of such venues in Germany. They feature different types of gambling options, particularly lower stakes ones.
The Interstate Treaty on Gambling, or Germany’s gambling law, was adopted in 2012. However, uncertainty has been clouding the country’s gambling industry since then as the regulations implemented have failed to win the approval of gambling operators and even European authorities. Earlier in 2016, the Interstate Treaty on Gambling was declared illegal by the Court of Justice for the European Union.
Berlin authorities actually introduced new rules for the licensure of arcades on July 31. Under the new rules, operators that are interested to manage gambling halls in the city are allowed to do so only if their properties are located no less than 500 meters away from similar venues. However, if the same regulations are implemented in the rest of Germany, thousands of arcades may be forced to close doors next year.
Commenting on the announcement, Georg Stecker, a spokesman for Die Deutsche Automatenwirtschaft, said that arcade operators had not been able to adapt to the regulatory situation as they had not been provided with certainty that they would be able to continue running their businesses. Die Deutsche Automatenwirtschaft is the body in charge of the regulation and supervision of the provision of fruit machine gaming options in Germany.
Federal officials have pointed out that the new measures would be implemented to counter gambling addiction, particularly among the younger part of the German population. Marlene Mortler, Drug Commissioner for the Federal Government, has told local media that legal vacuums and loopholes should be eliminated, so as for players to be effectively protected from social ills that often come along with gambling.
It is important to note that it is still a serious amount of uncertainty as to whether the new regulations will be deemed compliant with EU laws. EurActiv pointed out that the portion concerned with the minimum distance between arcades may actually prove to be the stumbling block to the whole regulatory package being recognized as constitutional.
Last week, the leaders of Germany’s 16 states confirmed that discussions have begun regarding the implementation of a new set of online gambling rules. The Interstate Treaty on Gambling will be reviewed and amended in a manner that is hoped to create a modern and well-regulated gambling market. For instance, the previous cap on gaming licenses may be removed. Under the 2012 law, gambling regulators granted licenses only to 20 interested operators.