Germany’s Gambling Problem
A new report presented by Germany’s Federal Drugs Commissioner revealed concerning statistics about gambling addiction in the country. The report, titled “The Gambling Atlas,” revealed that approximately 1.3 million adults in Germany suffer from a gambling disorder, and an additional 3.3 million adults show initial signs of gambling addiction. These numbers are alarming and have prompted calls for action from experts and officials.
The report, which draws on data compiled in 2021, found that 30% of German adults engage in gambling. Although this represents a reduction from the 55% reported in 2007, the report still indicates that 7.7% of adults experience financial, social, or health problems associated with addiction. “Gambling rarely makes participants happy,” said Commissioner Burkhard Blienert, emphasizing the negative impact of gambling on individuals.
The report also highlighted specific demographics that are particularly susceptible to gambling problems. Young men, individuals with psychological disorders, and those with high levels of alcohol consumption were identified as being at higher risk. Additionally, the report revealed that people with migratory backgrounds are also at particular risk, often using gambling as a form of self-medication to cope with trauma and financial hardships.
The COVID-19 pandemic was identified as a contributing factor to the rise of gambling addiction, as vulnerable individuals found themselves under financial pressure and isolated from their social circles.
Live sports betting was identified as a significant area where gambling addictions occur. The report shed light on the prevalence of sports betting, particularly in football, where betting companies have official partnerships with football associations and clubs, exposing fans to gambling advertisements.
Drugs Commissioner Blienert warned of the dangers of trivializing gambling and called for tighter restrictions, including a ban on gambling advertising on television before 11 pm. However, the industry’s strong lobby, coupled with the record gross revenues of €13.4 billion ($14.3bn) in 2021, poses challenges to implementing stricter regulations.
The report’s findings underscore the urgency for addressing the pervasive issue of gambling addiction in Germany and the need for comprehensive measures to protect vulnerable individuals from the harmful effects of gambling.