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Melanie Porter November 14, 2023 4 min read
New Report in Germany Raises Concerns about Problem Gambling
The Gambling Atlas report presented by a federal drug commissioner in Germany has revealed disturbing data on gambling disorders in the country
According to The Gambling Atlas report based on data that was compiled in 2021, around one-third of German adults engage in a form of gambling.
While the report presented by Germany’s federal drugs commissioner, Burkhard Blienert, at the start of the week marked a decrease compared to the 55% figure that was determined 14 years earlier, in 2007, it also revealed a series of disturbing data.
7.7% of German Adults Deal with Gambling Addiction Problems
According to the report that was published jointly by the Institute for Interdisciplinary Addiction and Drug Research in Hamburg, the German Centre for Addiction Issues based in Hamm, and the Gambling Research Department part of the University of Bremen, 7.7% of Germans over the age of 18 experience social, financial, or health distresses tied to their gambling addiction.
In other words, there are currently around 1.3 million adults suffering from a gambling disorder.
Commissioner Blienert argued that gambling “rarely makes participants happy” while also mentioning that an additional 3.3 million German adults are currently showing the first signs that would indicate they are likely to suffer from gambling addiction in the future.
Using the voice of Christina Rummel, the German Center for Addiction Issues also expressed its opinion on gambling, calling it “a disease.”
Who Is More Prone to Deal with Gambling Problems
The same report offered a comprehensive overview of the way young adults and men aged between 21 and 35 are more susceptible to dealing with gambling problems.
The same risk was identified in the case of individuals suffering from psychological disorders as well as people who consume large amounts of alcohol.
Another category at risk of tackling problem gambling issues is represented by migrants who, as explained by gambling expert Tobias Hayer via Germany’s Catholic News Agency, use gambling as self-medication to handle trauma, financial struggles, or the feeling of being marginalized by other members of society.
Finally, the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to the rise in the number of gambling addicts. The report explained this through the vulnerable categories of individuals who were suddenly forced to isolate themselves and deal with financial problems.
Gambling Addiction Promoted by Live Sports Betting
Besides the classic slot machines located in gaming arcades and halls, the same report mentioned the rise in live sports wagering as an important element that leads to gambling addictions.
Betting on soccer is one particularly problematic issue, especially in the context of popular betting company BWIN inking a large number of partnerships with the German Football Association and important soccer clubs in the country, including Borussia Dortmund and Dynamo Dresden.
Former goalkeeper, captain, and CEO for Bayern Munich, Oliver Kahn, was also appointed as the public face of Ticipco, another popular sports betting company in Germany, for eight years in a row starting in 2012.
Commissioner Blienert issued a warning regarding the perils of trivializing gambling by connecting it with live sports while also asking for more restrictions. For the time being, it is almost impossible to watch live soccer in the country without being subject to adverts tied to betting.
The Commissioner asked for a TV ban on gambling advertising prior to 11 pm, in spite of the industry reaching massive gross revenue figures of €13.4 billion ($14.3 billion) in 2022 and €5.2 billion reaching the state’s treasury in the form of taxes in 2021.
At the end of September, Germany’s gambling regulator presented information regarding the measures that are meant to keep online players protected from gambling addiction and harm.
During the same time, regulations in relation to loot boxes in video games reached the national parliament. Members of the parliament from different parties expressed support for more restrictive regulations that should be imposed on the mechanics to cut the risk of gambling addiction.
The previous month, the association of sports betting providers in the country criticized the misinterpretation of data in regard to problem gambling as represented by a 2021 Gambling Survey.
The Deutsche Sportwettenverband commented on the way the number of people identified as problem gamblers was presented in the media.