Following recent changes that essentially outlawed online casinos in Germany, the crusade against gambling has been carried over to physical slot machines and similar gaming devices.
In the wake of the latest restrictions impacting Berlin’s slot machines, there are voices calling to extend the draconian limitations across Germany.
One of these voices is the President of the German Association of Cities, and Mayor of Nuremberg Ulrich Maly. Speaking recently to the German daily Berliner Zeitung, he expressed his strong opinion that German gambling laws should be changed to disallow slot machines outside casinos.
Since the first permissive federal regulation that licensed gambling machines in amusement arcades, restaurants and bars in 2006, the number of such devices has increased by a third to more than 240,000. Cafes and restaurants have been especially eager to install gaming machines, contributing significantly to this increase.
Although local municipalities may impose restrictions beyond those contained in federal regulations, Mayor Maly claims that for Germany’s towns ‘it is extremely difficult to enforce a ban’, and believes that the states and the federal government must do more to strengthen the law.
“According to [a federal draft proposal] the permissible number of gaming machines in restaurants is to be reduced from three to one. But these devices have no place in restaurants at all, especially since the youth gambling ban is usually not observed,” says Mayor Maly.
He also clarified his stance regarding arcades. “I advocate approving gaming machines without a prize payout only. Gambling should solely be permitted in casinos, where young people and problem gamblers may be denied access.”
Whether such a ban would really achieve the proclaimed goal of reducing addiction and underage gambling, or would simply push more gamblers “off the radar”, towards online and mobile casinos, is a hotly contested issue.
Nevertheless, it appears to be the politically preferred solution of the 206 municipalities represented by the German Association of Cities.