Gambling addiction is a really problematic addiction

At the beginning there is usually a "big win": A big, surprising windfall that jingles out of the slot machine, is wiped out at the poker or roulette table or comes into the house with a football bet. So attached, around 438,000 people in Germany have slipped into addiction. The number of morbid players is stagnating, as the Federal Center for Health Education (BzGA) announced on Thursday. In contrast, the desire to gamble is declining overall.

"Men, people with a migration background and the unemployed still have an increased risk of problematic use of gambling offers," said Peter Lang from the BZgA. The group of 18 to 20-year-old men is particularly affected: nine percent of them have at least problematic gaming behavior.

According to the report, the attractiveness of gaming machines has increased. At the same time, these machines attract a particularly large number of gambling addicts: Almost 30 percent of the people who stand at these machines no longer have their behavior completely under control. Problem gambling is also widespread in sports betting and in internet casinos. Lottery players, on the other hand, rarely develop an addiction. In addition, the proportion of lottery players in Germany has decreased significantly in recent years.

Symptoms of pathological gambling

Pathological gambling is recognized as a disease. Doctors diagnose the disorder in people who gamble over and over and over while neglecting other recreational activities and human relationships. "Undisturbed", "distraction" and "relaxation" were the most common motives that morbid players cited for their behavior. The authors of the BzGA study suspect that these people are apparently also interested in escaping from everyday life. A denial of addiction is typical for the players. Those affected often only deal with their behavior when they have slipped into financial ruin or have committed criminal offenses, when their family and friendships have broken down.

A questionnaire published by the German Central Office against Addiction Risks provides an initial indication of problem gambling behavior: The situation is critical if two of the following statements are agreed:

  • "I can only stop gambling when I have run out of money"
  • "Losing is a personal defeat that I want to make up for."
  • "I often think of gambling and feel an inner urge to play"
  • "I have lied to or cheated on other people to raise money"

Those affected can find advice and help on the website operated by the BzGA: www.piele-mit-verendung.de.

You can find out more about addiction in our guide.

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