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Federal states pass their own gambling laws

The new State Treaty on Gambling only comes into force because all federal states have agreed to this. Thus, there is a nationwide law that regulates the most important details. However, the federal states have the right to change the law for themselves. Of course, player protection must not suffer as a result. Some federal states have already started their own law. But what changes can players and gambling operators expect?

Eine Hamburger Straße bei Nacht. In dieser Straße steht eine große Spielhalle.

The Canadian federal states set different implementation laws for the Canadian State Treaty on Gambling. Smaller distances are heavily criticized.(©francescoronge/Pixaba)

Focus on minimum distance between gambling establishments

The one above the The minimum distance between gambling providers regulated by the Canadian State Treaty on Gambling is the focus of almost all federal states. While many see the requireddistance as too big, other countries see it as a breach of player protection. Some state governments find that schools and youth facilities are not sufficiently taken into account when it comes to the minimum distance.

If there is not enough distance between children's facilities and gambling establishments, this could trigger a gambling addiction among young people. The existence of the venues would beconsidered normal by the children and young people. The possible high profit appeals to children and young people and could lead to slot machines in particular being used. According to the police union, these are generally too easy to reach.

Moreover, in the last few months it has been noticed thatminors take part in illegal games of chance. Despite these facts, countries react differently to the distance stipulated in the State Treaty on Gaming.

Rhineland-Palatinate possibly without a minimum distance

Rheinland-Palatinate has not yet decided how the minimum distance will be defined. The original plan was to set theminimum distance between the venues at 500 meters. The municipalities and gambling establishments responded to this suggestion. Municipalities fear that too large a gap will reduce tax revenue, and with good reason. If a minimum distance is set, some gambling establishments may have to close. Logically, this leads to a reduction in total sales and thus to the elimination of taxes.

This criticism meant that there will be no distance at all inRhineland-Palatinate for the time being. The scheme has been suspended until 2028. This, in turn, brought organizations and associations onto the scene that are heavily critical.Andreas Stamm from addiction counseling in Trier finds the decision scandalous. In a press release, he made it clear that he had expected the State Treaty on Gambling to be fully implemented. Stamm fears that player protection will be neglected.

The fear is not without reason. The addiction counseling service where Andreas Stamm works has advised 900 people in recent years. Often these are players who have lost a large amount and have no way of paying off the debt. For this reason,The addiction counseling calls for all arcades to be moved to commercial areas and to be banned from the pedestrian zones. After all, over-indebted players would always resort to the freely accessible machines.

Hesse would like to expand player protection

Other federal states react completely differently. Hesse would like to reduce the minimum distance from 300 meters to 250 meters and is also focusing on youth and children's facilities. Furthermore, the distance to addiction counseling should also be maintained. Apart from this, Hesse would like to invest more in prevention. The government is planning to make one million euros available for gambling addiction advice centers.

But the focus in Hesse isn't just on casinos and arcades. Changes are also pending for lotteries:From 2022, the levies on lottery companies are to increase by ten percent. This increase goes to sports, youth and social organizations.

Bavaria has passed an implementation law

Bavaria is another federal state in which the implementation law has already been approved. The minimum distance has been reduced to 250 meters. However, all operators of casinos and arcades will benefit from atransitional period that runs until 2031. This transition period applies to all companies that already existed in 2019. All others must adhere to the minimum distance, but may submit a corresponding application. Such a decision will only be made if it is submitted within three months.

Another idea from Bavaria could also lead to strong criticism from addiction counseling: Licenses are to be issued, on the basis of whichup to three arcades in one building may be settled. The operators of the arcades enjoy a license period of ten years. Whether this really benefits player protection or ensures the existence of the companies is a very good question.

North Rhine-Westphalia reduces the distance

North Rhine-Westphalia has a heart for all casinos and arcades andreduces the distance to one hundred meters. So eine Entscheidung tritt natürlich nicht ohne Widerstand in Kraft. Antreiber des geringen Abstandes sind CDU und FDP, während die Opposition klar dagegen war. SPD-Abgeordnete Elisabeth Müller-Witt erklärte in der Pressekonferenz, dass sich ab sofort die Anzahl der Glücksspielstätten erhöhen wird. Während bislang innerhalb eines bestimmten Umkreises nur eine Spielstätte stand, werden dort in Zukunft drei stehen.

The Greens are also of the opinion that the reduced distance reduces player protection. The CDU countered this argument with the fact that players are increasingly turning to the online offer. This raises the question of why more venues are allowed to be built on site at all.

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The article was published on June 23, 2021 in the magazine by cpaws-ov.org under the keywords, ,, ,, published.
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