Gambling experiences, problems, research and policy: gambling in Germany

Authors


Correspondence to: Monika Ludwig (née Sassen), IFT Institut für Therapieforschung, Parzivalstrasse 25, 80804 Munich, Germany. E-mail: sassen@ift.de

Abstract

Aims

The objective of this paper is to present an overview of gambling in Germany, including historical development, legislative and economic changes as well as treatment options and their effectiveness.

Methods

The available scientific literature and research reports on gambling in Germany were reviewed to obtain relevant information on history, commercialization, legislation, treatment and research agenda.

Results

Gambling in Germany is characterized by compromises between protective and economic efforts. At present, gambling is illegal in Germany, and provision is subject to the state monopoly. Mere gaming machines (specific slot machines) are not classified as gambling activity, permitting commercial providers. In recent years, implementing regulations for state gambling and gaming machines have been changed. Concerning the treatment of pathological gambling, various options exist; treatment costs have been covered by health and pension insurance since 2001. Information on the effectiveness of treatment in Germany is limited. Similarly, the number of peer-reviewed publications on gambling is small.

Conclusions

German gambling legislation was subject to major changes in the past years. Based on the available body of research (longitudinal), studies on risk and protective factors and the aetiology of pathological gambling are needed. The effectiveness of pathological gambling treatment in Germany and the impact of gambling regulations on gambling behaviour also need to be investigated.

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