A few weeks ago, ZDF broadcast a report entitled "Gambling to the point of bankruptcy". The report focused on the risks and consequences of gambling. It is striking that the 30-minute programme takes a particularly critical view of the subject. Is it still worth watching in the ZDF media library?

Just a few weeks ago, we at GambleJoe reported on a ZDF documentary about Defne, a gambling addict who gambled away 100,000 Euros in one night. Now, on 21 January 2024, ZDF has also released a report entitled "Caution, Gambling - Gambling to the point of bankruptcy". The video from the ZDF.reportage series can be watched online for free here.

"Gambling addiction - the underestimated danger!

Even the introductory statements suggest that the journalists have a critical view of gambling. Within the first few seconds, for example, one of the people interviewed says that he has "lost several hundred thousand euros gambling" in the course of his life. A little later, the statement is somewhat ambiguous:

"More than a million people in Germany play around the clock!"

The next few minutes of the report are about a police raid on an illegal poker game in Cologne. The officers arrested nine people who were apparently in the middle of a game. The police had probably been tipped off by an informant who led the authorities to the back room.

Visit to an amusement arcade in Wiesbaden

As part of the report, the journalists visit an amusement arcade in Wiesbaden (Hesse) on a Saturday afternoon. Ten of the twelve slot machines are already occupied. The arcade manager is also interviewed and says, among other things, that the players know where they are and are "not in kindergarten". We reported on another interesting documentary called "7 Tage im Arcade" in the summer of 2022.

In the ZDF report, player Aykim Kul talked about his best and worst day in his "career". On his best day, he won around €10,000 on sports bets in a single day. On his worst day, the 33-year-old lost around €3,500 on slot machines. Kul explained that even the five-figure win did not make him happy in the long run:

"The only problem is: you win the 10,000 euros. And the 10,000 euros are gone in a week. So with gambling you also go to parties and live large".

The case of former casino supervisor Nicole is even more tragic. The 35-year-old is addicted to gambling and has two children, aged 3 and 16. She has been "tied" to the machines for years and has lost many thousands of euros. It all started when the young mother put her tips from the casino into a machine. At the time, she multiplied her tip - €4 became €54. Looking back, she blames this incident for her subsequent gambling addiction. She says she has not gambled at all for several years now and has even founded her own association called "Glücksspielfrei". As recently as last December, we reported that around 1.3 million Germans suffer from a "gambling disorder".

Gambling addicts lose hundreds of euros a month

Renowned gambling researcher Dr Tobias Hayer from the University of Bremen is also quoted in the report. In a kind of "practical test", Hayer plays the popular Book of Ra slot machine on the screen with a stake of one euro per game round. He vividly demonstrates how, in the worst case, you can lose 12 euros per minute if you play for five seconds. According to the 2021 Gambling Survey, compulsive gamblers lose an average of €796 per month.


The ZDF report is critical throughout and does not present the gambling sector in a favourable light. In our opinion, the half-hour report is a little too critical and negative. Nevertheless, every player should pay attention to their gambling behaviour in order to avoid becoming addicted to gambling. After all, gambling should be fun and provide entertainment.

The Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA) offers a free service number on gambling addiction at 0800 1 37 27 00. This is available Monday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and at weekends from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Image source: https://pixabay.com/de/illustrations/kein-geld-arm-geld-nein-krise-2070384/

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