Fewer gambling halls – less gambling addiction?

Does a reduced number of land-based gambling halls mean that the ubiquitous problem of gambling addiction becomes more manageable? The thesis sounds plausible at first glance. On closer inspection, however, it becomes clear that the problem is much more complex than initially assumed. The gambling laws in the northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna, for example, are exceptionally strict.

Fewer gambling halls

In the last few days, the responsible health commission has presented the results of the strict requirements. But can gambling addiction really get under control by closing down gambling halls in rows? And what is the current situation in Germany? The local newspaper Bologna Today also recently reported on the impact of strict gambling laws in the northern Italian region. It was stated here that the number of land-based gambling halls has been reduced significantly in recent years. This trend is seen as a success. It is questionable whether new problems will arise elsewhere – for example in the online sector – if this development continues.

Italy: Regional law to combat gambling addiction is taking effect

The health commission of the regional government in Italy has now taken stock by evaluating the developments of the past few years. Overall, one comes to the conclusion that the so-called regional law to combat, prevent and reduce gambling addiction has not failed to do its job – on the contrary. One is not only proud of the fact that there are significantly fewer arcades or arcades than a few years ago. The progress made in the area of ​​prevention and treatment of gambling addiction is accordingly rated positively. The strict gaming law was now passed around seven years ago.

Several gambling halls are now closed

As reported by the Italian daily Bologna Today, the Commission is proud of the steadily decreasing number of stationary arcades. Over the past few years, 155 gambling halls have been closed by the authorities. Another 161 venues are currently about to be closed, as the law stipulates a minimum distance of 500 meters as the crow flies between two venues. In addition, the Emilia-Romagna region was able to enforce that the same distance should be maintained from public facilities such as sports facilities, schools or hospitals. In any case, Lia Montalti, as a member of the health commission, is convinced of the effectiveness of the new gambling laws:

Not only are the places where games can be played, and thus the number of users, reduced. At the same time, more and more offers of help (…) are being created ”.

It is questionable whether it is the right way to push ahead with the extermination of the stationary gaming industry so quickly and rigorously. Ultimately, this could result in a large migration of players to online gaming libraries. Due to the lower number of gambling halls, one can largely only achieve that the presence of gambling offers in everyday life is restricted.

Similar strict gambling hall law in Germany

Strict laws apply to land-based gambling halls not only in the northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna. The requirements are similarly strict in this country. In Berlin, for example, there has also been a new arcade law for some years now, which has resulted in the number of arcades in the capital being reduced from 600 to around 120 soon. Here too politicians are visibly proud of this development. The urban development expert and SPD MP Daniel Buchholz commented on the subject as follows: “Finally, most of the gambling halls in Berlin have to close. Gambling addiction destroys people and neighborhoods ”.

Online offers are much more difficult to control

However, it is also true that drastically reducing the number of land-based gambling halls or game libraries cannot be the only solution. Ultimately, this means that there is a risk that at least a small proportion of players will discover the online gambling market for themselves as an alternative. There are now a number of licensed and therefore reputable online game libraries here. But most “game fans” will probably find it difficult to distinguish serious from dubious offers.

Surf tip: In our current online game library comparison, we list gaming providers who adhere to the German transitional regulation and are trying to obtain a German license.


It seems to be a daring thesis that with a smaller number of gambling halls you can fight addiction efficiently and sustainably overall. After all, many former arcade visitors can immerse themselves in the online world after the stationary arcades are closed. There are now hundreds of online gaming providers here, not all of whom have a valid license and some of them do not adhere to official requirements. The risk of becoming addicted to gambling is probably much higher here, as there is little control. Anyone who wants to play with an online provider after the closure of stationary gambling halls should ensure that they have a good player protection concept and that they are monitored by the authorities.

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