Residents sign petition against German gaming hall changes

The amendment would close all gaming halls located within 500m of another such venue or a school or other youth facility.
The amendment would close all gaming halls located within 500m of another such venue or a school or other youth facility.

Almost 2,000 have signed a call for the state government of Rheinland-Pfalz to row back on an amendment that could close many venues.

Germany.- A petition calling on Rheinland-Pfalz to withdraw a legal amendment on the location of gaming halls has gained 1,900 signatures.

The petition calls on the state government to drop an amendment to the state Gaming Act that would close all gaming halls located within 500m of another gaming hall, a school or any other youth facility from July.

New gaming hall licences are already subject to these restrictions but the latest amendment applying the measures to existing venues would force the majority of gaming halls in the state to close, critics say.

The national gaming machine trade association Deutsche Automatenwirtschaft eV (DAW) and the state-level association Automaten-Verband Rheinland-Pfalz eV (AVRP) have warned that the amendment could result in the loss of 4,000 jobs.

They have said that 80 per cent of the employees affected would be women, many of them aged over 50.

“Many of them are wondering where to work from July 1, 2021, if their arcade has to be closed due to the new state law. That is anti-social and unjust,” the petition reads.

The petition was started by Wolfgang Götz, who operates a gaming hall in Baden-Württemberg.

It notes that mystery shopper tests have found that less than 1 per cent of under-18s who attempted to play at gaming halls were able to do so.

It also questioned the sense of introducing the amendment just as Germany’s new online casino market will open.

“We call on the state government for equal treatment,” the petition says.

The legal amendment, which was read in the state parliament on December 15, also increases funding for addiction centres from €1m to €1.2m annually. 

It was proposed by the Social Democratic Party (SPD), the Free Democratic Party (FDP) and Bündnis 90.

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