German gambling participation rate continues to fall


germany-gambling-participation-rateGermany’s overall gambling participation rate continues to decline, despite increases in gambling stakes and revenue.

The German Center for Addiction (DHS) recently released its 2018 Yearbook (in German), which tracks rates of consumption of all manner of potentially addictive substances and activities, including drugs, alcohol and gambling.

According to the yearbook, the lifetime gambling participation rate among all Germans fell to 75.3% in 2017 from 87.1% in 2009. The prevalence rate over the 12 months of 2017 was 37.3%, on par with statistics from last year’s Drug and Addiction Report 2017 (which actually covered activity in 2015).

The decline in gambling participation comes despite the fact that Germany’s gambling market has undergone a 191.5% increase since the country liberalized its land-based market in 2006.

Germany’s online gambling market remains a tangled mess, with the country’s individual states at loggerheads over how to regulate online sports betting. Online casino operations remain verboten outside the state of Schleswig-Holstein following a federal administrative court ruling last October.

Just 0.56% of Germans (roughly 326k individuals) were deemed to be problem gamblers, while 0.31% were classified under the more serious designation of pathological gamblers. Both figures are significantly below comparable statistics in other mature gambling markets.

Moreover, Germans who have difficulty controlling their gambling activity are becoming more willing to seek treatment for their problems. Gamblers made up 8% of individuals contacting addiction treatment centers, up marginally from 7.8% in 2015. The overwhelming majority (72.3%) of these treatment-seeking gamblers were primarily slots players.

Consumption of other potentially addictive substances was a mixed bag. Tobacco use rose by 1.1% last year, while alcohol consumption decreased by 1.25%. Pharmaceutical psychotropic drug use was flat, as was the use of illegal drugs, although deaths from illegal drug use shot up 8.7%, the fourth consecutive year this stat has increased after several years of declines.