Millions of people in Germany play the lottery or bet on which soccer team will win. Up to 500,000 people are addicted to gambling. On paper, the state is in control of gambling. On the Internet, such as. However, a gray area that can hardly be controlled has emerged with numerous providers.
Fear of claims for damages
There is only one catch: private sports bets are banned in Germany as long as they do not concern equestrian sports. To be more precise: In 15 out of 16 federal states. Schleswig-Holstein is an exception. The state has issued appropriate licenses to private providers. Nevertheless, everyone can play in the rest of the republic if they want. Either on the computers of private betting shops in German city centers or at home, on your home computer. The state does not intervene, says addiction therapist Hartmut Goergen.
The state as a toothless tiger
In view of the sums in question, it is not surprising that the private gaming providers legally pull out all the stops as soon as the authorities issue bans, says Hans-Peter Knaack, who is responsible for gaming in the Saarland Ministry of the Interior.
Internet as a platform for betting remains prohibited
But countries can no longer ignore the growing dangers of online gaming. You have therefore provided the Lower Saxony Ministry of the Interior with key competencies and upgraded personnel in order to defend their own interests against illegal providers. At least that’s a start, believes Peter Jacoby. The long-time Saarland finance minister is one of two managing directors of Saartoto and is currently acting chairman of the German Lotto block.
Several legal proceedings against Germany
Picking up means: complaining. The private gaming providers have initiated several legal proceedings to overturn the state monopoly. But the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg has backed Germany several times. Most recently, in the summer of this year, he decided that Germany has the right to leave gambling in the hands of the state. However, the monopoly must be used to effectively combat addiction to gambling. In this regard, German rules are lacking in straight lines, criticize the Luxembourg judges. The state could not pursue addiction prevention and at the same time advertise its lottery and sports betting offer.
More damage to Oddset than to the private competition
In any case, there are now well-founded doubts as to whether all federal states also support this market adjustment process without reservation. After all, the Hessians took an unusually long time to review the applications. One reason for the sluggishness can be found in the coalition agreement of the black-green state government. It states that Hessen does not really believe in a quantitative cap on sports betting licenses. Why then, of all places, Hesse was entrusted with the issuing of the licenses remains the secret of the federal states. One thing is certain, however, that the hanging game harms the state provider Oddset far more than the private competition.
Football bets appeal to the masses
The DFB man is silent about the exact amount that Oddset is supposed to donate to football – somewhere in the single-digit million range. Oddset records stakes of the self-proclaimed football professionals of around 140 million euros per year. These stakes tend to decline because the private providers Oddset are digging the drain. But that should change when the market is regulated by licenses and the unpleasant competition is finally eliminated. After all, the state provider also wants to benefit from the fact that football betting appeals to a wide range of people. They would not be viewed as a game of chance, says addiction expert Hartmut Goergen.
High costs for the health system
The number of those people whose gambling behavior is assessed as pathological in Germany varies between 250,000 and half a million, depending on the study. They get into debt, put their jobs on the line, and accept the breakdown and economic decline of their families. The costs caused by these unfortunate gamblers arise both in the personal environment and in the health system, explains Hans-Peter Knaack.