Earlier this month, German national supporters’ organisation Unsere Kurve published a statement on the relationship between football and the gambling industry.

The statement highlights the negative impact that gambling has on the game and its fans, citing several studies and surveys that show:

  • There are approximately 500,000 people in Germany who are addicted to gambling.
  • For every person in Germany who is addicted to gambling, up to 15 other people are psychologically, socially, or financially affected.
  • Despite various prohibitions, as many as 9 million young people in Germany have experience with gambling.
  • As early as 2016, one out of every 5 euros generated by the sports gambling industry in Germany came from addicted bettors.
  • Around 10 percent of professional and amateur footballers in Germany demonstrate “problematic gaming behaviour in connection with gambling.”

Unsere Kurve also contends that key stakeholders, including politicians, the media, clubs, national associations, and leagues, are failing to fulfil their social responsibilities on gambling.

They contrast the situation in Germany with that of other countries such as Spain, Italy, and Norway, where governments have taken steps to limit the influence of gambling companies, particularly in relation to advertising.

Demands on Clubs, Associations, and Politicians

In view of these trends, Unsere Kurve calls on clubs and associations to:

  • Establish measures to raise awareness among fans of the risks associated with sports gambling.
  • Collectively commit not to enter into any new sponsorship contracts with sports gambling companies from 1st July, 2022, or to extend any existing contracts.
  • Invest at least 50 percent of the income generated by existing sponsorship contracts into state-recognised gambling prevention programmes and/or measures that are independent of the gambling industry.
  • Ban active athletes from participating in sports betting by 1st July, 2022, at the latest.

Unsere Kurve further calls on politicians to:

  • Impose a general advertising ban on sports gambling companies in stadia and sports-related media.
  • Prohibit sports gambling companies from using former or active athletes, officials, or other public figures to advertise their product.
  • Strengthen the current warning for sports betting with the statement: “Profits do not increase significantly through mature expert knowledge.”
  • Expand and increase investment in measures to prevent and treat gambling addiction and problem gambling.  

The statement ends with an appeal to fans:

“Be vigilant about offers from the sports betting industry and inform yourself about the dangers of sports betting…Let’s work together to ensure that football lives up to its social responsibility: ask your clubs to be responsible when it comes to sports betting.”

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