Sports betting is Michael’s biggest hobby. The student gambled on banned sports betting platform providers and won three-digit amounts on the internet each month. “For me, sports betting is a hobby like a stamp collecting”, says Michael from Berlin. The 24-year computer science student does not want to give his full name. He started to bet with the German state-owned sportsbook provider Oddset. At the 14 years old, he filled his first betting ticket and no one from the betting agency office asked for his identity card to prove he is elder than 18.
Before the sports betting scandal of referee Robert Hoyzer, who was manipulating Bettler’s sports events, he considered Sports betting as a harmless pleasure. In the football club betting, bet tickets were a topic of conversation among the youth of players as Michael used to be. Later, the student discovered the bookmakers on the Internet where the odds are higher, the maximum stake allowed are bigger and the time for placing bets are instant. On the Internet, gamblers could also bet during the game on the next goal or the total number of corners. Now he could bet more often, almost every day he places bets worth of few hundreds of euros.
The biggest internet sportsbooks have more than 10,000 bets available at any time in a scheduled day from football, tennis, basketball, ice hockey, volleyball, basically from all worldwide sports. The internet era offers bettors who want to place bets almost an infinite option varieties so anyone who wants can bet on the Greek water polo league, the Russian ice hockey, the English football premier league or on the Oscar winner for the best film, the next scorer, the next red card etc. Michael laughs at such absurd bets, he only bets on basketball and football, only on European and South American leagues. From the breakfast time, he searches for lineups, coach changes, and players injuries through the internet. My advantage over the bookmakers is that I specifically inform myself in one direction.” If two defensive teams meet in the Norwegian league, Michael insists that less than two goals will be scored in the match. That’s the whole trick.
The German young bettor is searching for the exotic and lower leagues. He knows that in the Bosnian football league are scored on average less than two goals. When Skonto Riga already celebrated the championship after 25 matches in the Latvian soccer league, Michael placed the bet in the next game on the opponent team. After 90 minutes, the student had almost doubled his 70 Euro stake bet.
His biggest win was in the Champions League match between Rubin Kazan and Inter Milan. Inter was extremely defensive and careful under coach Jose Mourinho away. Rubin Kazan was considered home strong, and because the Russian cold weather was certainly no advantage for the Italians. Nevertheless, the Italian champion was the favorite among bookmakers. “I struck there and bet on a draw.” He has earned 1,200 euros on an odd higher than 3.50
His record is not just with victories. In the South American Copa Libertadores, Michael bet 850 euros in the round of 16 between the Argentina representative River Plate Buenos Aires vs. Defensor Sporting from Uruguay. When his roommate went to the student party, Michael sat in front of the computer and watched the game via live stream on the Internet. But the outsider won by a counter-goal scored by Diego de Souza completely surprising. The student has lost all his stake.
Friends have little sympathy for his passion but Michael does not care: “Others spend thousands of euros on collecting matchbox cars or on collecting stamps, and hobbies are not always rational” he says.
According to the German federal center for health and education, people who are involved in sports betting and place bets are particularly in danger of addiction. Unlike the casino here is the feeling not only to be dependent on chance but also to have an advantage through knowledge. As with all addictions, positive experiences lead to feelings of happiness. The player wants to experience the feeling of success faster and more often and increases the risk. “Almost all internet gamblers record their stakes and winnings and pay close attention,” says the student better. Losses should by no means be offset by riskier missions. He has entered all his 5000+ bets in his Excel spreadsheet, scrupulously recording stakes, odds and wins or losses. The past three years he was in his overall balance in the profit. He earns in average about 600 Euro bet profit each month.
With the profits, he allows himself the small luxury, for the normal students would have no money: a pay-TV subscription, a large TV and the latest mobile phone. He sees his smartphone as an investment – so that he stays on the road constantly on the road of world football sports betting.
Michael hopes for a change in the gambling German state treaty to ease the market for the private sportsbook providers. This eventually led to more competition and transparency among telephone providers. He wants state licenses for the bookmakers, including quality control. At the moment dubious websites attract possible users, but then freeze accounts and are no longer available “Sometimes bets are cancelled because of technical problems, usually when you win.”
In Germany, the state treaty on gambling force, since 1 January 2008, the sixteen federal states regulate the conditions for gambling. It regulates advertising, youth and game protection as well as the execution of games of chance in Germany. In the current version, games of chance, including bets, are prohibited on the internet. Following the lawsuit filed by private providers against the state of Baden-Württemberg, the European Court of Justice ruled on 8 September 2010 in favor of private gambling providers. The judges expressly criticized the contradiction between the stated goal of protection of players and the protection of minors and the comprehensive publicity for the state offer. Licenses for gambling in EU countries are therefore valid in Germany as well. At a special conference of the prime ministers in Berlin, a new gambling state treaty is to be decided. Surveys of the bookmakers, lotteries, associations and a first draft of the Schleswig-Holstein state government point to a loosening of the state monopoly on sports betting.
The major internet sportsbook are mostly registered in Gibraltar, the Cayman Islands or Curaçao, and thus pay no taxes to the federal republic. The providers in the context of the reorganization of the state treaty on gaming revealed that many providers are interested in a state license for their offer despite the tax costs. They expect more revenue through better advertising opportunities.