Report Finds Germans Are Gambling Less Despite Higher Stakes
Germans are gambling less, despite increases in gambling stakes and prize pools. Those are the findings of the German Center for Addiction (DHS), which released its German-language edition of the DHS 2018 Yearbook.
The yearbook tracks rates of consumption for the various activities the Addiction Center follows: gambling, alcohol, and drug addition. The center found that the lifetime gambling partition rate fell to 75.3% in 2017, which is down nearly 12 points from 87.1% in 2009.
The prevalence rate of 37.2% remains the same from 2015 to 2018, when the Drug and Addiction Report 2017 reported the same prevalence numbers. The Drug and Addition Report 2017 recorded German gambling activity in 2015.
The gambling participation stats have decline over a period when the German gambling industry has seen a 191.5% increase in activity. Germany liberalized its land-based market in 2006. In specific, lottery betting and online sports betting have increased.
German Problem Gambling Rates
Only 0.56% of Germans — or roughly 326,000 German residents — are termed problem gamblers. About 0.31% — or roughly 180,000 Germans — are described as pathological gamblers, which is considered more serious than being problem gambler.
While any amount of problem gambling or pathological gambling is a concern which should be addressed, those statistics are significantly lower than the gambling addiction rates in other countries with mature gambling markets. Depending on the experts cites, problem gambling typically affects 2% to 5% of gamblers, with the consensus generally cited as between 2% and 3%.
The low rate is explained by the willingness of German problem gamblers to seek treatment for their problem. The percentage of addicts (who were gamblers) rose slightly in the report this year, up to 8% after a reported 7.8% in 2015. Almost two-thirds (72.3%) of German problem gamblers said their preferred game of chance was slot machines.
German Addiction Rates
Other forms of addiction fluctuated in the 2018 Yearbook. Tobacco use rose by 1.10%, while alcohol consumption declined by 1.25%. Pharmaceutical psychotropic drug use remained static, while illegal drug use also remained flat.
Though the same percentage of Germans used illegal drugs, the number of deaths from illegal drug use increased for the fourth straight year. The number shot up an alarming 8.7% from 2015 to 2017, mainly due to the spreading opioid crisis. Fentanyl and similar opioids have made drug use more dangerous, because of the high risk of overdose.
Schleswig-Holstein Opposes Interstate Treaty on Gambling
The online casino industry remains sidelined in 15 of Germany’s 16 federal states. Schleswig-Holstein, the tiny state on the German-Danish border, remains the lone holdout when it comes to online casino gambling.
Schleswig-Holstein voted down the Interstate Treaty on Gambling in September 2017. It was one of several repudiations of the German federal government’s anti-online gambling initiatives over the past 5-6 years. The ITG was presented to the states back in 2012, but requires unanimous passage by all 16 German states before it is ratified.
The Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig that a German ban on onlino casino, poker, and scratchcard games (Interstate Treaty on Gambling) was legal under the German constitution. The court, which ruled in November 2017, found that the online gambling ban complied with EU treaties regarding the free movement of services throughout the European Union.
888 Holdings Leaves Germany
The lawsuit was filed by a pair of unnamed gaming operators said to have been licensed in Gibraltar and Malta, respectively. The court decision and the possibility of a German VAT bill caused 888 Holdings to announce it would leave the German market in March 2018.
The VAT bill presumably would cost 888 Casino $45 million a year, which 888 Holdings decided made its operations in Germany unfeasible. Combined with the problematic and uncertain nature of online gambling in Germany, the potentially lucrative gaming market has few of Europe’s biggest name operators still active.