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German slot associations hit out at new Rheinland-Pfalz gaming hall regulations

| By Daniel O'Boyle
German gaming machine trade association Die Deutsche Automatenwirtschaft eV (DAW) and its state equivalent Automaten-Verband Rheinland-Pfalz eV (AVRP) have spoken out against an amendment to Rheinland-Pfalz’s Gaming Act (LGlüG), claiming that it could kill the industry.

The amendment – currently under consideration in the Landtag – requires that gambling halls must be at least 500m from schools or youth facilities, which the bodies said would require half of all licensed operators to close their doors.

“The present draft law destroys the legal offering of slots in Rheinland-Pfalz, because it means the end for more than half of all state-licensed gambling halls,” DAW board spokesman Georg Stecker said.

This, he said, would lead to major job losses across an industry that employs 4,000 people in the state.

“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,” he said.

Wolfgang Götz, chairman of the AVRP, added that he believed the soon-to-be-regulated online gaming market posed a much greater risk to children.

The igaming market is currently in a transition period where operators may offer online casino games provided they keep to the rules of the Fourth State Treaty on Gambling, which will officially come into force on 1 July, 2021.

“The draft law is a slap in the face of the ordinary medium-sized vending machine companies in Rheinland-Pfalz and hits us particularly hard in the midst of the economic crisis,” Götz said. “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.”

Stecker added that regulation needed to be evidence-led and there was not sufficient evidence to suggest distance rules protected children.

“We need regulation based on qualitative criteria that strengthens youth and player protection and maintains proper operations, also in Rheinland-Pfalz,” he said.

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