According to a report in Friday’s Süddeutsche Zeitung, state premiers meeting next week will discuss standardising restrictions nationwide, which would include a limit of 12 slot machines at any one place.
Existing halls with dozens of devices will be given a five-year period to transition or be forced to close under the plan.
Gambling halls will also have new time restrictions that require them to close for at least three hours a day; advertising will have to be reduced and the term “casino” will be banned, the newspaper reported.
Experts said the move could put a serious dent in the industry. Roughly 100,000 of the 150,000 gaming machines currently being operated in the country’s 12,300 gambling halls could disappear.
The move is being justified using figures on gambling addiction. According to the University of Hamburg, 56 percent of gambling hall customers are addicted to the slot machines and some have racked up debts of over €10,000.
Paul Gauselmann, the head of gaming machine company Gauselmann, however, accused state governments of supporting other gambling venues, including lotteries. He said restricting gambling halls would just force people to the internet, which is tougher to regulate.
Gauselmann said business owners would unleash “a flood of litigation” if the states were to pass the proposed regulations.