Problem gaming behaviour and gambling addiction relate to the uncontrolled, damaging consumption of gaming products.

Problem gaming behaviour refers to a stage before actual addiction, where the individual is increasingly losing control of gaming behaviour and there could be negative consequences for their life and social environment.

Conversely, gambling addiction describes a state where a person is unable to live without games of chance. Sufferers have a strong urge to play, have a problem controlling their gambling and are prepared to risk losing all their assets. This can lead to financial, psychological and social problems – in many cases followed by a deterioration in the quality of life.

When gaming becomes an illness

Gaming has been a natural part of human life since time immemorial, stretching far beyond childhood. Gaming primarily serves to release tension and provide relaxation, to offer a way to deal with victory and defeat, and to comply with certain rules. However, excessive gaming behaviour can also lead to risks and dependency. The lines between 'use' and 'abuse' can become rather blurred.

Gambling addiction is a recognised illness

Gambling addiction is a recognised illness which can only be overcome with professional help. Timely diagnosis and treatment can help to minimise the negative impact of gambling addiction and give suffers a chance at life without uncontrolled gambling. We offer support via our free hotline  and contact details for an array of counselling centres.

A multi-year process

Gambling dependency is often sparked by a critical life event, such as the loss of a spouse or job. For sufferers, this creates a situation where the desire to escape from their current life is overpowering and they try to distract themselves to an ever greater extent. They engage with games of chance and sports betting in an increasingly dependent way and these activities take on an increasingly central position in their life. The dependency is described as an intense, near-uncontrollable urge to gamble. The visual depiction of the process of gambling and everything that goes along with it consumes the sufferer's thoughts.

Youth protection at Austrian Lotteries

Young adults, in particular, often have issues with foreseeing the consequences of their actions and act in a more impulsive way. This can cause problems in conjunction with games of chance and lead to a dependency developing. As a result, we are particularly keen to promote youth protection and make games of chance less accessible to young people.

In July 2023, Austrian Lotteries once again extended the voluntary self-restriction, which is significantly stricter than the legal requirements. Since 2009, participation in lottery games has been possible from the age of 16. The exception to this was the class lottery, which required players to be 18 years of age to participate. On 10 July 2023, the age limit for the sale of all lottery games and for the payment of winnings was raised to 18 years of age, while the age limit for participation in the sports betting programme and online gambling is 18 years.

All our retail partners must comply with the age limits set and are subject to regular checks. New partners must complete training on responsible gaming and all existing partners undergo annual training.