Approximately 1.3 million adults in Germany suffer from a gambling disorder, and another 3.3 million are showing initial signs of gambling addiction, according to a new report presented Monday by the country’s federal drug commissioner Burkhard Blienert.
According to “The Gambling Atlas”, which relies on data collected in 2021, 30% of German adults gamble. This figure represents a decrease from the 55% calculated in 2007, but the report still found that 7.7% of adults suffer from financial, social or health problems related to the supplement.
“Gambling rarely makes participants happy,” Commissioner Bliner said Monday, presenting the report in Berlin.
“Gambling is a disease,” added Christina Rummel of the German Addiction Center (DHS).
The most vulnerable are young people and migrants
The report, published jointly by the Institute for Interdisciplinary Addiction and Drug Research in Hamburg, the German Center for Addiction Problems in Hamm and the Gambling Research Department at the University of Bremen, provides an overview of the state of gambling in Germany.
It identified men and young adults aged 21 to 35 as particularly susceptible to problem gambling, as well as people with mental disorders and high levels of alcohol consumption.
The report defines gambling addiction as “excessive and destructive involvement” in gambling during which gamblers lose control, gamble more and more money, lie to cover up their addiction and become isolated from their social circles.
People with a migrant background are also at particular risk, the report said, and gambling expert Tobias Haier told Germany’s Catholic News Agency (KNA) that gambling could become a form of self-medication for migrants who have suffered trauma or who find themselves marginalized. from society and they struggle financially.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also provided fertile ground for gambling addiction as vulnerable people find themselves alone and under financial pressure.
Live sports betting
Along with traditional slot machines in arcades and arcades, the report identifies the growth of live sports betting as a major area where gambling addictions occur.
As DV reported in 2022, football is particularly problematic, as one bookmaker, BVIN, enjoys official partnerships with the German Football Association (DFB) and several clubs including Borussia Dortmund, Union Berlin, Cologne, St. Pauli and Dinamo Dresden.
Former Bayern Munich goalkeeper, captain and CEO Oliver Kahn was the public face of bookmaker Tipico for eight years between 2012 and 2020, and it’s almost impossible to watch live football in Germany without being exposed to betting ads.
“When you call up Bundesliga results on your smartphone, you are immediately confronted with offers from sports betting companies,” said drug commissioner Blienert, warning of the dangers of trivializing gambling by linking it to live sports and calling for tighter restrictions.
“When young people are tempted to gamble through seemingly harmless games, then something is wrong,” he said, calling for a ban on gambling advertising on television before 11 p.m.
But with the German gambling industry posting record gross revenues of 13.4 billion ($14.3 billion) last year and the German state collecting 5.2 billion in taxes from legal gambling in 2021 alone – more than double the alcohol – the industry has a powerful lobby.
mf/lo (SID, KNA, dpa)
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