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Germany: four out of ten slots players at risk of gambling harm

| By Marese O'Hagan
A study on gambling in Germany has revealed that four out of ten of those gambling on slot machines suffer from gambling harm.
Bet-at-home Germany

Germany’s first “scientifically grounded report” to measure problem gambling has been published by Drogenbeauftragter, the Federal Drug Commissioner of the Bundestag.

The report is the first to measure gambling harm in Germany. This follows the launch of the country’s legal online casino market in July 2021.

The study pulled the most recent data from a 2021 survey on gambling in Germany. This followed the passing of the Fourth State Treaty on Gambling (GlüNeuRStv) to enact a legalised market. The GlüNeuRStv also brought about the creation of a new regulator, the Gemeinsamen Glücksspielbehörde der Länder.

Entitled “Gambling Atlas Germany 2023: Numbers, Data, Facts“, the report states that online casino holds the highest risk for problem gambling.

Of these more high-risk games, 46% of men take part weekly or daily, compared to 35% of women. Slots are recognised as the highest contributor to problem gambling in Germany, with four out of 10 players being at risk of harm.

The study was based on publications from the Institute for Interdisciplinary Addiction and Drug Research of ISD Hamburg and the Gambling Research Unit at the University of Bremen.

Burkhard Blienert, the federal government commissioner for addiction and drug issues, said more protections against slots machines, as well as online gaming, are needed.

“The Gambling Atlas 2023, which is now available, brings together all the central data and facts relating to gambling,” he said.

“This now gives us a good basis for the discussion about the correct way to deal with gambling and its consequences.

“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 machine and online gaming,” he continued.

Population exhibiting gambling harm behaviours

The Gambling Atlas Germany 2023 report states that 2.3% of Germany’s population between 18 and 70 years old suffer from gambling harm. In absolute numbers, this is the equivalent of 7.7% of all those who gamble, or 1.3 million people in total.

These are categorised by mild severity, which is at 1.1%, medium at 0.7% and severe at 0.5%. An additional 5.7% of the population show signs of a gambling disorder, which is exhibiting risky behaviour.

Also in 2021, a total of 30% of Germany’s total population participated in gambling. This was calculated looking at those between the age of 16-70, over the previous 12 months. Once again, men participated at a higher rate than women, at 35% compared to 25%.

Looking at the popularity of different games throughout the year, the study revealed that 19% of the population participated in Lotto 6aus49. Part of Germany’s Federal State Lotteries, this was the most popular game in 2021. In comparison, scratchcards were played by 7% of the population, while 5% took part in sports betting. For slot machines and casino games, this was roughly 3% each.

Participation by group

Between 2007 and 2019, gambling participation in Germany fell from 55% to 38%. The study noted that this decline happened equally between men and women. By age group, those aged between 36 and 45 have the highest level of participation at 34%.

The widest gender participation gap is the 21 to 25 age group, where men and women are separated by 13%.

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