Industry giants dismayed over Berlin gaming hall restrictions. German gaming giant Gauselmann Group and Austria’s Novomatic Group reacted dismayfully after the Berlin authorities introduced new restrictions on gaming halls, forcing most of the city’s 496 arcades to shut down.
The Berliner Spielhallengesetz, a law that was in development for a number of years came into force. It dictates that no venue can be located within 500m of another, and that none can be within 200m of a school or youth facility. Additionally, the legislation states that venues will operate between 11am and 3am, and to eight devices per arcade.
Venues denied a permit are ordered to shut within six months. The Berlin Senate noted that 154 legal challenges were filed by operators, with the state prevailing in 101 cases.
This will ultimately cut the number of legal gaming halls in the city to 120. There will be a maximum of 960 legal gaming machines in operation across the German capital. That means there will be only 25 legal devices per hundred thousand citizens.
“That shows the actual appetite [for gaming machines],” Gauselmann director of marketing, communications and policy Manfred Stoffer said. “I bet that there will also be this number in Berlin, because where there is demand, there is also a corresponding supply.
“In Berlin it is no different – however, the offering that will be available will now be illegal for the most part.”
Stoffer added that Gauselmann Group would continue to fight the restrictions, with the support of industry associations Deutsche Automatenwirtschaft (DAW) and the Landesverband der Automatenkaufleute Berlin.
[image: Yevhenii Baraniuk]