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The prevalence of severe gambling disorders among young people aged 18-25 in Germany has tripled between 2021 and 2023, from 0.7% to 2.1%.

That’s according to a newly published survey on gambling-related problems in the country.

The 2023 Gambling Survey was carried out by researchers at the University of Bremen and the ISD Hamburg, a non-profit institute for interdisciplinary research into addiction and drugs.

It was funded by German lottery association Deutscher Lotto und Totoblock (DLTB).

Gambling participation and frequency

One of the survey’s key objectives was to measure the prevalence of gambling and gambling-related problems across the German population at large.

It found in its latest edition that around 6.9% of the total population (10.3% of men and 3.5% of women) have participated in “risky” forms of gambling, a categorisation which includes slot and casino games, sports betting and keno.

Across the general population and including games considered less risky such as lotteries, around 36.6% of survey respondents had gambled over the past 12 months.

Breaking that figure down by gambling frequency, 11% of respondents said they gambled less than once a month, 9.8% said once a month, 3.6% two to three times a month, and 12.2% gambled at least weekly.

Increased frequency of gambling participation was also correlated with men and respondents of a higher age, with 16.3% of those aged 56-70 gambling at least once a week, compared to 5.3% of 18-20 year-olds.

Prevalence of gambling-related disorders

Out of all the survey’s respondents, 62.7% did not participate in gambling and 28.8% engaged in “unproblematic play”, together suggesting that 91.5% of the population is not at risk of gambling harm.

However, a further 6.1% of the population were considered at risk, while 2.4% were considered to have some level of gambling disorder.

Mild gambling disorders were seen in 1% of survey respondents, while moderate and severe gambling disorders were each seen in a further 0.7% of respondents.

Those figures are skewed towards men, with a total 3.2% considered to have some level of gambling disorder, compared to 1.4% of women.

Breakdown by age group

One data point highlighted as a particular concern in the survey was an increase in the prevalence of gambling disorders among young people aged 18-25.

In a previous study carried out in 2021, the prevalence of gambling disorders in that age group was found to be 3.7%. In the 2023 study, that figure increased to 4.9%. 

That came about as the prevalence of mild gambling disorders among young people fell from 1.8% to 1.5%, but the prevalence of moderate disorders increased from 1.1% to 1.3%, and the prevalence of severe gambling disorders tripled from 0.7% to 2.1%.

The trend was also seen among other age groups. Although the overall rate of gambling disorders among those aged 26-35 fell from 4.2% to 3.7% between the two surveys, the prevalence of severe disorders among that group grew from 0.8% to 1.2%.

The overall prevalence of problem gambling among those aged 36-45 was up from 2.3% to 2.7%, with the rate of severe gambling disorders growing slightly from 0.5% to 0.6%.

Among older groups, the overall prevalence of gambling disorders dropped, from 1.7% to 1.6% among those aged 46-55, and from 0.9% to 0.8% of those aged 56-70.

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