Are gamblers adequately protected on the internet or are they required to be regulated? A study commissioned by the federal states will explore this question. The contract was awarded to a researcher who was involved in the drafting of the study requirements (symbol image).

To check the current Gambling Government Agreement, the states’ joint gambling authority is asking for a three-year evaluation.

However, the conclusion of the tender raises the following questions: Why was there only one bidder? So why did the scientist who made suggestions for the conduct of the study win the tender?

At the request of Business Insider, the official stated that it complies with legal requirements.

The newly created Common Gaming Authority (GGL) of the Federated States wants to control the impact of the Government Agreement on Gambling, which has been in effect since 2021. A relevant assessment should show whether the measures are aimed at: player protection Regulations on the Internet must be sufficient or legal regulations must be made. The study “Tobias Hayer of the Dr. Public Health and Nursing Research Institute,” the official said in a short message a few weeks ago. Great news for researchers. In the end, the value of the work to the state is 756,302.52 euros.

So how did Hayer convince the authorities that his team at the University of Bremen was the right team for this lucrative job? What can he do that others can’t? Answer: It was the only company to bid for the European-wide tender. When asked by Business Insider, GGL described it as “very sad”. But there is no explanation about it.

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Business Insider’s research now shows how the scientist is involved in preparing for government tenders. Hayer has been researching gambling and gambling addiction for 23 years. He is considered a conservative and is a member of the Gaming Advisory Board. The seven-person expert panel will advise federal states and make recommendations to the GGL for scientific studies on gambling addiction. For example, in April 2021, the group discussed “evaluation of the gaming contract” with representatives of the federal states.

In an internal tour, researchers gave “tips that should be included in the tender”

According to a later report, when Hayer and a colleague presented concrete “implementation suggestions” at the meeting at the time, Hayer was the focus. Accordingly, “assessment studies that are as comprehensive and qualitatively challenging as possible” should be conducted. Only well-known scientists will be accepted as contractors. In no case should “evaluation be made by the federal states themselves”. “The following recommendations should be understood as information that should be included in the call for tender,” the committee’s subsequent report states. The federal states finally got Hayer’s drafts in writing.

The Bremen researcher was repeatedly involved in the evaluation of the Government Agreement on Gambling, even after the 2021 presentation. He participated in the relevant working group meetings of the countries that GGL members also attended. Psychologist Hayer has written studies and published specific recommendations for action. “It concerned, among other issues, aspects of the effectiveness of the measures and their impact,” Hayer says.

Tobias Hayer, gambling researcher

Tobias Hayer, gambling researcher
image alliance/dpa | Sina Schuldt

The GGL’s contract statement states: In the research, the findings regarding the “implementation of special player protection regulations” should be significant. In addition, explanations on “efficiency and possible improvements” should be made.

So, did Hayer design the tender he won? GGL’s answer is “No”. Advisory Board members only make recommendations. “Designing the evaluation conditions is the sole responsibility of the federal states.” But in fact, the authority implemented Hayer’s suggestions. When asked, the researcher says that certain thematic blocks that the scientist designed for tender calls were received.

Bidders only 30 days to bid – legal minimum

In any case, good preparation should benefit the researcher. Because when GGL advertised the Europe-wide contract in March 2023, it only gave potential buyers 30 days to submit a convincing offer. Result: Only Hayer submitted the research design for the €750,000 job. And it got approval.

Business Insider spoke with academics and procurement law experts about the process. “The process looks like a planned lottery win,” says one researcher, who wishes to remain anonymous. In his view, the period of only four weeks is too short to submit a research design for a three-year evaluation.

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Hayer says: “From my point of view, the bidding period was very sporty on the one hand, especially around Easter. On the other hand, it’s known that since the government deal went into effect by mid-2021 at the latest, it needs to be evaluated scientifically. That’s why GGL’s call for proposals is for our colleagues in game research. It shouldn’t come as a surprise.”

GGL defended the fast progressing process and emphasized that the “legal bid deadline” was respected. The only bidder met all the conditions.

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