The effect of online gambling on gambling problems and resulting economic health costs in Germany

Tobias Effertz*, Anja Bischof, Hans Jürgen Rumpf, Christian Meyer, Ulrich John

*Corresponding author for this work
10 Citations (Scopus)


Problematic and pathological gambling have emerged as substantial problems in many countries. One potential accelerating factor for this phenomenon during recent years is the Internet, which offers different kinds of games and online applications for gambling that are faster, more attractive due to a variety of design and marketing options, less costly and potentially more addictive than terrestrial gambling opportunities. However, the contributing role of the Internet for problematic gambling has not been analyzed sufficiently so far and remains inconclusive. The current study is based on a representative sample with 15,023 individuals from Germany. With a new concept of assessing online gambling with its relative fraction of total gambling activities and a control-function approach to account for possible endogeneity of online gambling, we estimate the impact of online gambling on gambling behavior while additionally controlling for a rich set of important covariates, like education, employment situation and family status. The results show that, on average, replacing 10% of offline gambling with online gambling increases the likelihood of being a problematic gambler by 8.8–12.6%. This increase is equivalent to 139,322 problematic gamblers and 27.24 million € per year of additional expenditures in the German health sector. Our findings underpin the necessity to keep online gambling restricted to prevent further developments of problematic and pathological gambling in Germany.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Health Economics
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)967-978
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 01.09.2018

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


Dive into the research topics of 'The effect of online gambling on gambling problems and resulting economic health costs in Germany'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this