Bet that Burkhard Blienert will not succeed with his call for a renunciation of advertising for sports betting during the European Football Championship in Germany? The Federal Government's Addiction Commissioner has suggested that next summer's football festival should not be accompanied by advertising for risky behaviour. And if it does, then at least only after 23 p.m. He might as well have urged not to serve beer during the tournament.

Addictive substances, and this does not only include illegal drugs, cause considerable damage – in terms of health, social and the economy. The dangers are well known: But despite the Non-Smoking Protection Act, twelve million people in Germany smoke. Almost two million are considered alcohol-dependent, and two-and-a-half are addicted to medication.

What does this have to do with sports betting? The World Health Organization defines addiction as a "state of periodic intoxication" caused by repeated use of a drug. The criteria also include psychological dependence on the effect of the means of choice and the loss of control over one's own behavior. The indomitable desire for addiction satisfaction is also part of it. The extra kick to kick also appeals to people – and is also a lucrative business. However, rarely for the bettor.

Waiver unlikely

Since July 1, 2021, betting providers in Germany need a license, their turnover rose to 9.4 billion euros in 2021. On the other side of the coin, according to the Federal Ministry of Health, there are half a million people with pathological gambling behavior. Just as many are considered online-dependent. In its 2022 annual report, Deutsche Suchthilfe writes that about one-third of sports bettors showed signs of gambling disorder. Nevertheless, advertising for sports betting is allowed around the clock.

The German Sports Betting Association knows the football industry is on its side. And not only because Lothar Matthäus advertises the "safe dip" on sports television around the clock. 17 out of 18 Bundesliga clubs have a private betting provider as a sponsor at their side. A voluntary renunciation of advertising for sports betting is therefore very unlikely. And a ban is completely unrealistic. For this to happen, the State Treaty on Gambling would have to be amended.

"People go to the stadium because they don't know how the game will end," Sepp Herberger once said. And they bet on the outcome because they think they know it after all – one might add. No matter what the cost. Reason speaks in favor of Blienert's attempt to protect people from themselves, from addiction. But the chance of winning the bet against the betting is slim. Bet that . . .?