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Controversy Surrounds German Gambling Harm Survey Amidst Methodology Change



German Regulator Under Fire: A Deep Dive into the Gambling Harm Survey Controversy

Amidst ongoing debate, the German Gambling Regulator (GGL) steadfastly defends the Gambling Harm Survey’s altered methodology against a backdrop of criticism. At the University of Hohenheim’s twentieth Gambling Symposium, GGL underscores the paramount importance of scientific insight in shaping the nation’s gambling regulatory landscape. This article delves into the swirling controversy, the regulator’s defense, and the broader implications for Germany’s gambling sector.

The Crux of the Controversy

At the heart of the debate lies the German Gambling Harm Survey, which underwent a significant methodology change, sparking questions and concerns within the industry. The survey’s startling findings suggest a dramatic increase in gambling addiction figures, from 400,000 in 2019 to an estimated 1.3 million adults in 2023. This sharp rise has drawn scrutiny, especially considering the change in survey methods.

GGL’s Firm Stance

During the Symposium on Gambling at the University of Hohenheim, GGL board member Ronald Benter emphasized the critical role of scientific evidence in regulatory decisions and societal discourse. GGL’s commitment to funding gambling research, with studies totaling €1.39 million, demonstrates a proactive approach to understanding and addressing gambling-related harms in light of the 2021 legislative overhaul.

The Gambling Advertising Study

Among the commissioned research is a notable study on gambling advertising by Eye Square, intended to shed light on the impact and reach of gambling promotions. This, alongside other studies, forms the backbone of GGL’s data-driven approach to evaluating the German gambling market’s dynamics and informing future regulatory strategies.


Industry Response and Calls for Review

The dramatic findings of the 2023 Gambling Harm Survey have not gone unchallenged. The industry group DSWV, alongside statistician Katharina Schüller, has voiced significant concerns over the study’s methodology and the disregard for scientific critique. There is a growing demand for an independent review of the survey methods to ensure the findings rest on a solid scientific foundation and accurately reflect the reality of gambling addiction in Germany.

The Importance of Methodological Integrity

The controversy underscores the critical importance of methodological integrity in gambling research. Accurate, reliable data is essential for crafting effective regulatory policies and player protection measures. As such, the methodology employed in significant surveys like the Gambling Harm Survey must withstand rigorous scrutiny to maintain credibility and trust.

Conclusion: Navigating the Future of German Gambling Regulation

The ongoing debate over the Gambling Harm Survey’s methodology highlights the complexities of regulating a changing gambling landscape. As Germany moves forward, the GGL’s dedication to research and evidence-based policy will be crucial in navigating these challenges. Ensuring methodological rigor and embracing constructive critique will be pivotal in fostering a safer, more responsible gambling environment.


Following the completion of her master's degree in publishing and writing, Amanda embarked on her professional journey as an online editor for a prominent gaming blog. Now, she has smoothly transitioned into the iGaming industry, where she plays a vital role in upholding the highest standards of writing in our news pieces. Working closely with senior management, Amanda ensures that our content meets the utmost quality standards.

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