The owners of Berlin’s Tauro Angus, a popular Spanish steakhouse, could be facing legal issues because of a popular promotion that they offer their guests. It is called Dinner Roulette, and it lets restaurant customers spin a roulette wheel to determine the price of their food. Most people think it’s a great idea, but a few are speaking out against the promotion, saying that Dinner Roulette violates German gambling laws.
The idea came from restaurant owners Oliver Liese and Gerd Spitzer. On the menu at the Tauro is a special dinner plate with a price that ranges from €0 to €36. To find out the actual price, diners spin a roulette wheel imported from London – wherever the ball lands is what they pay for their food.
Complaints about Dinner Roulette caught the attention of the State Agency for Civil and Regulatory Affairs. The restaurant is not licensed to offer gambling, and now the owners of the Tauro Restaurant face a possible six figure fine, and may even end up in jail. The owners insist that Dinner Roulette is simply a creative way to offer a discount, and is really not gambling at all.
Germany’s gambling industry is in a state of flux. The current monopoly on land-based and internet gambling in Germany is outdated, and many are pushing for change. A state regulated system for controlling betting and internet gambling is in the books, but German states are reluctant to give up control, so progress is slow. Internet betting in Germany is an especially sensitive issue at the moment, and many are loathe to watch the German sports betting industry be placed in the hands of private operators.
One thing is certain: the current treaty that gives the German gambling monopoly its power will expire in late 2011, and a new regulatory scheme will have to be drafted to manage the nation’s gambling industry.