Sports betting addiction is always brought into play by German law enforcement officials when it comes to not regulating the market or enforcing corresponding bans. Again and again, the fact is pointed out that online betting can lead to addiction. Horror scenarios are sketched gladly also already once.
What are we to make of these statements?
Of course, sports betting addiction and its dangerousness cannot be dismissed out of hand. After all, so-called pathological gambling has been a recognized disease since 1980, which is also expertly treated by specialists. However, the statements of the German law enforcers are to be taken with a grain of salt. The protection of gamblers is not in the first place for the ladies and gentlemen, but only serves as an argumentation. In truth, as almost always, it’s all about filthy lucre. The bans and rules that apply in this country are intended solely to protect state-run sports betting and casino providers.
The fact that this way of thinking has a stone-age character has already been confirmed several times by the EU Commission. But in Germany, EU rules only apply as long as they can be interpreted to one’s own advantage. The welfare of the citizens, in our case the sports bettors, has never concerned the hypocritical moralists in Berlin and never will.
If you take a closer look at the rules and terms and conditions of the state bookmaker Oddset, for example, it very quickly becomes clear that sports betting addiction is merely a trivial phrase. The so-called player card, with which Oddset customers must identify themselves, is used solely for monitoring purposes.
How do the bookmakers react to these things?
The online betting providers deal with this issue very openly and provide their customers with appropriate tools with which the sports betting addiction can be avoided or fought. For example, there are the following rules:
Stake and deposit limits: the betting providers do not allow deposits or game sums in unlimited amounts. The systems set clear limits here. Furthermore, customers can set individual limits, which cannot be circumvented in a “snap decision”. Changes are usually only possible after a waiting period of at least 48 hours.
Temporary Exits: If the player gets into the area of sports betting addiction, he can opt for a temporary exit. The suspension can last from 24 hours to six months. During this so-called cooling-off period, the user has no possibility to log in to the bookie. The periods differ here between the providers.
Complete blocking: Of course, betting friends can also have themselves completely blocked for life. In this case, the bookmaker will always refuse a new registration. Of course, it is possible to re-enter after a few years, but only after a very thorough examination and possible submission of medical certificates.
Data matching: The top bookmakers perform data matching of banned players. Anyone who quits a bookie due to a sports betting addiction cannot simply switch betting providers.
The self-test – the path to knowledge
Almost all online bookmakers have integrated corresponding self-tests on their websites, with which users can very quickly and easily recognize whether they are threatened by sports betting addiction. Every customer should honestly answer the following questions:
- Do you feel the need to play with higher and higher stakes in order to feel the desired stimulus?
- Do you feel restless and irritable when you want to stop or reduce your gambling?
- Have you made several attempts to control, reduce, or stop gambling altogether?
- Do you think about gambling all the time?
- Do you often gamble when you are restless?
- Do you try to make up for losses from a previous gambling session on another day?
- Do you lie to yourself or others about the extent of your gambling?
- Have you jeopardized or given up an important relationship, your job, or your education and career for gambling?
- Are you dependent on others and their financial resources to get you through a financial shortfall caused by gambling?
If the answer to one or more of the questions is “yes”, the user is already in the critical area. In this case, help should be sought as quickly as possible. (The test shown was taken from the Austrian bookmaker Bwin)
The child has fallen into the well
Despite all security mechanisms, it is of course possible that the child has literally fallen into the well for individual betting friends. In this case, quick and efficient measures should be taken. There is absolutely no point in retreating into a dark closet and moping around. Deal with the illness openly. Talk to friends or family members about your problem. If you do not want to reveal yourself to your closest acquaintances, first contact the customer support of the bookmaker you trust. The employees of the bookmakers are specially trained regarding sports betting addiction. Immediately use the offers of the bookies, which we have already presented in detail.
Of course, a simple conversation with the service team will not really help you, but it can in any case provide the desired cooling off and the important clear view in the first step. The staff of online bookmakers will refer you to appropriate facilities, in which the necessary help is kept ready. Treatment can usually be provided on an outpatient basis. If the sports betting addiction is far advanced, even an inpatient hospital stay can be considered.
Basically, a distinction can be made between self-help groups and professional counseling and therapy centers. In every federal state, actually already in every larger city in Germany, there are corresponding contact points. Recommendable is from our view the homepage www.spielsucht-therapie.de. Here you will find not only further information about the disease, but also all the important addresses and contact numbers of counseling centers, self-help groups and clinics throughout Germany. By the way, you do not have to worry about treatment costs. Since it is a recognized clinical picture, the costs are borne by the health insurance companies.
How to avoid sports betting addiction?
Bwin, but also the majority of other top bookmakers, provides its customers with guidelines for successful betting on the homepage, which can be used to avoid slipping into sports betting addiction. The following important points are to be considered:
- Playing should be fun and not to make money
- Play only when you are relaxed and concentrated
- Take regular breaks
- Set your monthly gaming budget. Play only when you can compensate for financial losses
- Regardless of our set deposit limits, you can set your personal limit lower
- Once you have set a maximum limit for yourself, do not increase it at a later date
- Before you start playing, set the amount of winnings you want to end the game with
- Decide in advance how much you are allowed to lose
- Never gamble when under the influence of alcohol or medication
- Never play when you are depressed
Users who adhere to these actually very simple things will hardly be the ones seriously threatened by a sports betting addiction.
Conclusion: The topic is too serious for political games
The risks of sports betting addiction and its danger should not be discussed away at this point – on the contrary, the topic is much too serious for that. However, we find it a pity that the law enforcers use this problem for their political games, on the backs of the people who are really affected. Only the bookmakers themselves are open about this and are trying to curb sports betting addiction and fight it at its roots.