A German government report reveals the extent of gambling addiction in the country, with approximately 1.3 million adults suffering from a gambling disorder and a further 3.3 million showing initial signs of gambling addiction.
Presented by Germany's Federal Drug Commissioner, Burkhard Blienert, the study raises concerns about the public health consequences of this issue. Based on data collected in 2021, "The Gambling Atlas" revealed that 30% of German adults gamble.
Despite a general reduction in the proportion of adults who gamble - it stood at 55% in 2007 - the report highlights that 7.7% face financial, social, or health challenges directly related to gambling addiction.
During the report's presentation in Berlin, Blienert emphasized the seriousness of the situation. For her part, Christina Rummel, representative of the German Center for Addiction Issues (DHS), described gambling as a "disease."
The study was conducted through a partnership between several research institutions and provides a detailed analysis of risk profiles. Young men, especially those between 21 and 35 years, were identified as particularly susceptible to gambling addiction. Individuals with psychological disorders, high levels of alcohol consumption, and migrants were also highlighted as high-risk groups.
The report also points to the COVID-19 pandemic as an aggravating factor, creating ideal conditions for gambling addiction due to social isolation and the financial pressures faced by many.
Particular focus was given to live sports betting, especially in football. The prevalence of betting advertising in live sports events and partnerships between major betting companies and football entities - such as BWIN's association with the German Football Association (DFB) - were highlighted as potential factors contributing to the problem.
"When you call up the Bundesliga results on your smartphone, you're immediately confronted with offers from sports betting companies," Drugs Commissioner Blienert told DW, warning of the dangers of trivializing gambling by associating it with live sports, and calling for tighter restrictions.
"When young people are tempted into gambling via seemingly harmless games, then something isn't right," he said, calling for a ban on gambling advertising on television before 11 pm.