Eye on Europe - 11 September 2007

11 September 2007

Life for German Internet Casinos -- The tenth chamber of the German Administrative Court in Hanover decided last week that the casino group Lower Saxony GmbH (SNG) would be allowed to operate freely throughout the Federal Republic of Germany. The chamber followed the legal interpretation of SNG, a subsidiary of Casinos Austria International, which operates 11 casinos in Lower Saxony. The request of the plaintiff state of Lower Saxony was rejected, but it can still lodge an appeal. If the chamber court's decision is cleared, the Internet casino will start to operate as soon as possible. Problems could arise, however, when the new games of chance treaty is effected in late 2007, as the argument of increased addiction could mean prohibition for the new I-casinos.

More Data, Less Swiss Addiction -- Gaming addiction in Switzerland is less common than has been reported, according to a new study released by the psychology faculty at the University of Bern. "The probability of getting addicted over the course of one's life is 0.3 percent," said psychologist Jeannette Brodbeck. "This number is significantly lower than earlier Swiss studies." Moreover, financial aspects of the addicted players were overestimated. Instead of monetary prizes, the study found that tension and excitation were feelings that motivated the majority of the 6,300 players interviewed. The study clears away another misconception: even regular players hardly risk the entirety of their savings.

Monopoly Tightens, Crime Increases -- Another study conducted by Professor Friedrich Schneider of the Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Austria, examines the future of the German gambling market. According to the study, Germany's retention of its betting monopoly could lead to a substantial increase in illegal gambling. In 2005, Germany's illegal gambling sector generated 4.7 billion euros. By the end of this year, the study shows that the figure will nearly double to 8 billion euros. Looking ahead to the monopoly's dissolution in 2010, Schneider predicts that the German sports betting industry will boast 55,400 employees, against the 15,500 currently employed.

Rob van der Gaast has a background in sports journalism. He worked for over seven years as the head of sports for Dutch National Radio and has developed new concepts for the TV and the gambling industry. Now he operates from Istanbul as an independent gambling research analyst. He specializes in European gambling matters and in privatizations of gambling operators. Rob has contributed to IGN since Jul 09, 2001.