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DSWV attacks local media for skewing problem gambling stats

| By Zak Thomas-Akoo
German media is misrepresenting statistics to claim problem gambling is on the rise, according to sports betting trade body Deutscher Sportwettenverband (DSWV).

The DSWV pointed to reports in the press highlighting a 2021 problem gambling prevalence survey suggesting problem gamblers in Germany rose from from 400,000 to 1.4 million, the same year the market was regulated under the 2021 State Treaty on Gambling.

These figures are used to push the narrative that re-regulation led to a spike on gambling harms. However, the DSWV believes “such a conclusion is not readily possible” from the survey data.

Tracking problem gambling in Germany

The DSWV argues the increase in numbers did not reflect an actual rise in problem gambling but instead changes in the methodology tracking prevalence.

In the 10 years prior to 2021, the Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA) conducted the survey. This generally showed a stable or slight decline in problem gambling numbers.

However, in 2021 a new organisation, the Institute for Interdisciplinary Addiction and Drug Research (ISD), began collecting the data.

A “methodological reboot” of German gambling harm surveys

The study’s authors called it a “methodological reboot” with its new approach of gathering data making it impossible to compare to the prior year’s data.

Changes in the methodology included the use of both online and telephone surveys to build the results in the 2021 report. In comparison, the 2020 study only used phone surveys. In both cases the authors used a combination of mobile and landline.

While the organisation welcomes a data and fact based discussion on this topic, it “must be conclusive and based on verified facts”, DSWV president Mathias Dahms said.

“The evaluation of the State Treaty planned for the end of 2026 must take into account the experience of all stakeholders,” he explained. “Only in this way can the knowledge gained lead to constructive cooperation between all stakeholders for the benefit of customers.

“Player and youth protection works most effectively through successful channeling into the legal market with licensed providers.”

DSWV corrects DHS methodology

It’s not the first time the DSWV has hit back at a misuse of statistics to push an anti-gambling argument.

In June, the lobbying organisation criticised the German addiction association Deutsche Hauptstelle für Suchtfragen (DHS) for citing faulty figures in its 2023 Yearbook of Addiction.

The DSWV pointed out the DHS’ sources consisted of affiliate marketing sites as opposed to academic or government documents.

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