Year of signing the state gambling treaty: more shade than light | NDR.de – News

Status: 01/07/2022 06:30

A year ago, a new state gambling treaty entered into force across the country. Gambling should be regulated by law, gambling addiction should be limited. But the balance sheet is sobering

by Tullio Francesco Puoti

About 130,000 people between the ages of 16 and 70 in Lower Saxony are addicted to gambling. This was the result of a 2021 gambling study by the Hamburg Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Addictions and Drugs (ISD), on which the Lower Saxony Ministry of Social Affairs is also based. Gambling addiction is a serious problem. A new state gaming agreement that entered into force on July 1, 2021 should take this into account. Introduced, among others the nationwide “Oaza” blockade system.

The locking system promises greater protection for the player

Thanks to this blocking system, there is a legal basis to block all games of chance nationwide. This applies, for example, to slot machines and sports betting. All arcades and slot restaurants must be registered there from July 2021. Objective: If a player is registered with “Oasis”, he cannot play slot machines or online. Once placed on the blocking system, it usually takes a month to process your application and put it in place. The only exceptions to “Oasis” are lotteries, which are held no more than twice a week, lotteries in the form of savings on winnings, and horse bets offered by clubs in stationary locations.

Addiction experts draw a bad balance

The Lower Saxony National Drug Administration (NLS) welcomes the nationwide locking system. A year after take-off, the balance sheet will sober up, the spokeswoman criticizes. Many arcades do not have the necessary admission controls and not all arcades are registered with the locking system. There are currently 1,788 gaming salons in Lower Saxony, according to the Ministry of Economy. Of these, 414, or almost a quarter, are not yet connected to the locking system. This is shown by the figures from the city of Darmstadt, which is responsible for the nationwide locking system.

No gastronomy review

Currently, just over 1,000 restaurants are registered in the blocking system. However, the Lower Saxony Ministry for the Economy has no information on how many play equipment there are in the restaurants. Silke Quast is an addiction advisor at Diakonisches Werk in Hanover. For ten years he has been helping people addicted to gambling. The new ‘Oasis’ locking system is a good idea in itself, he says, but the implementation and most importantly the control are pathetic: “We now recommend our clients to only lock on rare occasions, as players are very frustrated when they find out they can enter. arcades even though they are blocked or playing machines while eating a snack, ”says Silke Quast.

“Winners and Losers”: a dichotomy

The federal state of Lower Saxony supports 24 gambling prevention specialists nationwide. By the end of 2021, EUR 800,000 was invested annually. Since this year, the Lower Saxony Ministry of the Interior has increased funding for specialist positions to one million euros. Every day, more than 1.5 million euros are lost at slot machines in Lower Saxony. This means more than half a billion euros a year. This was the result of a study by the 2020 Working Group Against Gambling Addiction eV, which the Lower Saxony Ministry of Social Affairs is also using when it comes to preventive measures against gambling addiction. It is unclear how much of this money was lost purely for fun and whether there was a serious gambling addiction behind it.

Online gambling legal for the first time

The new state gambling treaty also legalized online gambling, i.e. virtual slot machines and online poker. Providers must apply for a license to do so. The goal is to curb the black market. Although the competent licensing authority has only issued licenses to date, the industry is booming. According to the Federal Ministry of Finance, about EUR 203 million in taxes were collected from online gambling in the six months of 2021. Only in the first quarter of 2022, there were almost 150 million of them, and the trend is growing.

criticism of legalization

Addiction experts see legalizing online gambling as a contradiction to trying to do something about gambling addiction. Addiction counselor Silke Quast and many of her associates fear that many more addicts will emerge from online gambling in the future.

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Hello Lower Saxony | 01/07/2022 | 7:30 p.m.

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