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Schleswig-Holstein: New regulations for amusement arcades planned

The state parliament of Schleswig-Holstein published a draft for a new arcade law at the beginning of the week. According to the draft, the planned “Law on the Construction and Operation of Gambling Halls in Schleswig-Holstein” is intended to replace the current Gambling Hall Act of April 17, 2012, as this is not compatible with the State Treaty on Gambling 2021 .

The new State Treaty on Gambling was therefore taken as an opportunity to "fundamentally revise" the Gaming Hall Act. The most important changes include various innovations with regard to the legal minimum distances and the continued existence of network arcades (multiple concessions within the same building).

Varying minimum distances of 300 or 100 meters

Minimum clearances for amusement arcades are nothing new in Schleswig-Holstein. The Gaming Hall Act of 2012, for example, stipulates that the gaming venues must maintain a minimum distance of 300 meters from one another and from children's and youth facilities.

From now on, however, this should not apply to so-called "old arcades". This refers to amusement arcades that were granted a license before April 27, 2012. Like all other gambling halls in Schleswig-Holstein, the old gambling halls will have to apply for a license again in five years after their current license has expired.

They would benefit insofar as they only had to maintain a minimum distance of 100 meters. Special "qualitative requirements" such as North Rhine-Westphalia and Thuringia do not have to be met. At the same time, all amusement arcades would have to adhere to a strict social and player protection concept.

No special risk group for children under six years of age

Another innovation that the planned amusement arcade law contains is a redefinition or an initial definition of “children's and youth facilities.

Just as it is already the case in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Saxony, these should now also exclusively refer to institutions in Schleswig-Holstein in which children from six years of age visit. In the declaration of the state parliament it says:

Due to their lower maturity and the associated lower risk of gambling addiction, children under the age of six do not yet have to be protected as much as older children and adolescents, on whom gaming machines exert a significantly greater "attraction of the forbidden".

Including day care centers, crèches or day care workers in the list is therefore not proportionate in relation to the otherwise resulting restriction of occupational freedom.

In contrast to the previous gambling hall law, the new law stipulates that the minimum distances to debt counseling centers should also be observed. The reason for this is that “people already affected by gambling addiction and over-indebted” should not be “tempted” on their way to or from a counseling center.

No new multiple concessions

According to the draft law, the distance requirement is primarily intended to ensure that players are "released" from its "atmosphere" after visiting a gaming hall and that the walk that is covered leads to an automatic "cool-down time". For the same reason, the new gambling hall law also provides for a ban on multiple gambling halls in one building complex (compound gambling halls).

While no new licenses are to be issued for association arcades, the existing ones can keep their licenses for the time being under certain conditions. The number of directly neighboring gambling halls is limited to three. Approval can be granted if ...

  • the operators jointly apply for a permit for their amusement arcades,
  • all gambling halls have been certified by an accredited testing organization
  • and the operator and the
    person entrusted with the management of the operation have a certificate of competence acquired on the basis of a briefing and examination.

The aforementioned certification by an independent testing organization must be repeated every two years. If the examination is not carried out or proven in time or if it is not passed, the license immediately and automatically loses its validity.

a source: