Germany Gambling Atlas: 2.3 per cent affected by gambling disorder

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Germany’s Federal Government Commissioner for Addiction and Drug Issues, Drogenbeauftragte, has published the Glücksspielatlas Deutschland 2023: Numbers, Data, Facts, providing insight into the country’s gambling.

One of the headline figures of the report has been that 2.3 per cent – 1.3 million – of the German population have been impacted by a gambling disorder, about 7.7 per cent of all gamblers in the country.

The report is based on publications by experts from the Institute for Interdisciplinary Addiction and Drug Research and the Gambling Research Unit at the University of Bremen, with the German Center for Addiction Issues as a co-publisher.

The Gambling Atlas for Germany sought to answer the questions to provide “a comprehensive and clear representation of all relevant impacts of the cross-sectional topic of gambling”, including oversight of the prevalence of gambling, existing laws, demand, addiction, and the prevention of harms.

The report estimates that 30 per cent of the German population participated in gambling in 2021, down from a 55 per cent share in 2007.

Alongside the previously stated 2.3 per cent figure, four out of 10 slot machine participants have a gambling disorder, while the demand from online gamblers for outpatient help has risen sharply over the past five years.

Commenting on the report, Burkhard Blienert, Federal Government Commissioner for Addiction and Drug Issues, said: “It is well known that gambling offers attract fast and sometimes high monetary winnings. But hardly anyone knows how high the risk of addiction really is – from the first game onwards – not even in politics. 

“We urgently need more effective measures against illegal slot machines and online gaming. And especially when it comes to sports betting, stricter limits should be placed on advertising as quickly as possible.”

Recommendations from the Gambling Atlas include the need for effective player protection such as noticeable supply restrictions and player bans.

Player protection has been a key focus of Germany’s gambling regulator, Gemeinsame Glücksspielbehörde der Länder, who held a meeting back in September with federal state coordinators to evaluate the best approach to online gambling player protection and addiction prevention.

Blienert continued: “There simply has to be an end to the sports betting spots before, after and during sports reporting, even in the afternoon and early evening programs. Nobody wants that, nobody needs that and nobody is good for that.

“Construction site number three is the so-called loot boxes in online games. If young people are specifically lured into playing seemingly harmless games with money and supposed luck, then something is wrong. Here, too, we need effective youth protection regulations in Germany.”