Procedure descriptions

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

License for amusement arcades

If you want to run an amusement arcade as a fixed location business or a similar company, which is exclusively or predominantly responsible for

  • installing game machines with winning possibilities and/or
  • organising other games where you can win money and/or
  • installing entertainment games without winning possibilities

then this requires a license.

Note: The license is bound to a specific person, to specific premises and to a specific type of operation (amusement arcade or similar company). Any changes related to this (e.g. change in owner) require a new license.

In individual cases, the license can be granted only under the provision that considerable conditions are fulfilled. The permissible number of game machines depends on the size of the amusement arcade. In addition, the license to install game machines and a confirmation of suitability are required to run the amusement arcade.

Responsible authority

the municipal administration or city council (Gemeinde-/Stadtverwaltung) or rural district office of your future premises

Prerequisite

If the following cases apply, you will not get a licence to run an amusement arcade:

  • the business man is not sufficiently reliable
    This is particularly the case if you have been criminally convicted within the last three years before making the application for the license and this is due to a crime, due to theft, embezzlement, blackmail, handling stolen goods, fraud, betrayal of confidence, unlawful organisation of gambling, participation in unlawful gambling or due to an offence in accordance with § 12 of the Law for the Protection of Youths.
  • the premises in which the business is intended to be run do not satisfy police requirements due to their condition and location
    The license for amusement arcades does not replace the building permit. If a building permit exists, then the trading authorities may not deny the license for amusement arcades for reasons that have already been inspected within the scope of the building permit.
  • it is feared that the running of the amusement arcade is a threat to youths, an excessive exploitation of the gambling instinct, harmful environmental effect for the purpose of the Federal Control of Pollution Act or another reasonable disturbance of the general public, of neighbours or of an institution of public interest

Note: The licence to run an amusement arcade does not include the licence to install game machines with winning possibilities, it has to be applied for additionally.

In addition, you need a confirmation of suitability for the location in which the game machines are to be installed. It is specified that the total number of game machines with winning possibilities (payout machines) may not exceed twelve machines. In addition, one payout machine at the most may be installed per twelve square meter floor space. When calculating the floor space, adjoining rooms (e.g. storage rooms, toilets, corridors) are not included. Ultimately the machines have to be installed such that one player cannot operate more than two machines at the same time.

If you want to sell food and/or drinks in connection with an amusement arcade, then you also have to apply for a restaurant licence.

Note: The number of entertainment game machines is not restricted.

Procedure

The application for the licence to run amusement arcades has to be submitted to the responsible authority.

Required documents

  • completed application form
  • copy of the identity card or comparable identity documents
  • for proof of the corporate legal form
    • If the location of your company is in Germany, you will need:
      • for registered companies: an excerpt of the Commercial Register (Handelsregisterauszug) and if applicable a copy of the shareholders agreement (e.g. for a company constituted under civil law, (GbR)).
    • If your company is located abroad, you will need documents from the country where it is located which prove its legal form.
  • for proof of personal reliability
    • If your place of residence is in Germany, you will normally need:
    • If your place of residence is abroad, you will need documents from your native country, which prove that you have the personal reliability to provide the requested service.
  • construction plans, floor plans, site plans
  • possibly: application to issue a licence for the proxy

When checking the personal reliability, in individual cases the authorising authority could request alongside the documents listed additional documents, which are appropriate to make a statement about your personal reliability as applicant.

In the case of legal entities (GmbH, corporate companies, AG, registered cooperatives) the application form only has to be completed by the legal entity itself. All personal documents have to be submitted for all natural persons authorised to manage the company (e.g. certificate of good conduct, personal documents). In addition, an excerpt from the Central Trade Register has to be applied for in the case of legal entities.

In the case of partnerships, which as such are not capable of holding a licence (GbR, KG, OHG, PartG, GmbH & Co. KG), each of the managing partners requires the licence. I.e. an application form and all personal documents are required for each person.

Costs/Benefits

The amount charged is based on the local regulations governing the fees.

Release note

The German original version of this text was drafted in close cooperation with the relevant departments. The Ministerium für Finanzen und Wirtschaft released it on 05.08.2015. Only the German text is legally binding. The Federal State does not assume any liability for the translated texts.
In cases of doubt or if you have any questions or problems, please contact the relevant authorities directly.
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