Germany to launch gambling addiction awareness day

23 September 2019

Germany’s Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA) will look to educate players about the risks associated with gambling, especially around land-based slot machines, with a new annual awareness raising day taking place for the first time this week.

The Aktionstag Glücksspielsucht 2019 takes place on Wednesday (25 September), and will reoccur annually, on the final Wednesday every September. This will be based around the slogan “Don’t play until you’re addicted” (“Spiel nicht bis zur Glücksspielsucht”) and is accompanied by the launch of a new web portal, Check-dein-Spiel.de (Check your play).

Players will be able to access information on various forms of gambling via the site, as well as a self-test to assess their gambling risk profile. Should they be classed as at risk or addicted, they will be advised on measures they can take to change their behaviour.

This will be accompanied by a leafleting campaign which will see information in a number of different languages distributed to the public.

“[It] is important to inform people and make them aware of the addictive native of gambling before they develop problems,” BZgA chief Dr Heidrun Thaiss said. “This is why the BZgA is offering online and offline information and counselling services, in several languages, for gamblers and their relatives.”

Ahead of the day, the BZgA has published figures that reveal around 1.5 million 16 to 70 year-olds claim to have played slot machines at least once in the past year. These machines, it said, are particularly popular among the 18 to 25 age bracket.

For all forms of gambling, the Federal Ministry of Health subsidiary estimated there are around 500,000 people across Germany that can be classed as problem gamblers. Slot players make up around 120,000 of this number, a percentage the BZgA said was significantly higher than addiction rates for other verticals such as lottery or sports betting.

“Frequent repeated gambling can be a sign of addiction risk,” Thaiss explained. “Not everyone is aware of this, especially as there are different risks associated with each form of gambling.

“Products offering fast gameplay and short intervals between payouts tend to lead to players gambling more often and spending more money than intended.”