Military Members May Be At Risk for Problem Gambling

The U.S. military may not be doing everything it can to diagnose gambling disorder, suggests the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The report, which based its findings on Department of Defense (DOD) data, said the military has only diagnosed about .03% of its service members with the disorder each year. The GAO noted that the DOD doesn’t specifically target gambling abuse for screening, which means service members with the condition may be likely to go undiagnosed.

The GAO offered several recommendations, including the addition of problem gambling questions to the military’s screening processes. However, the DOD rejected that recommendation, arguing that it was “impractical to screen for every low prevalence disorder.”

It’s worth noting the DOD currently operates 3,141 slot machines—1,159 of which are on Japanese bases. The machines generated nearly $539 million in revenue from 2011 to 2015.

What We Know About Problem Gambling & Military Veterans

Previous research suggests problem gambling is an issue that impacts active-duty and retired veterans. For example, nearly 10% of U.S. vets struggle with disordered gambling, a rate that’s 2-3 times higher than that of the general population. In addition, about 17% of veterans with PTSD show symptoms of problematic gambling.

Researchers have also found that military experiences and post-deployment stress are associated with higher problem gambling rates among American veterans.

What to Do When a Service Member or Retired Veteran Gambles Too Much

Gambling becomes a problem when it has a negative impact on life. That impact can take the form of money arguments with a partner, lack of money to pay for necessities, or losing track of time while gambling. A problem gambler might seemingly gamble all the time or they might gamble in binges.

Take the quiz to find out if you or someone you love is at risk.

Veterans can find help by contacting their VA medical center or clinic. Make the Connection, by the Department of Veterans Affairs, also shares mental well-being resources for active-duty or retired service members.

For Lancaster or Lebanon resources, call the Compass Mark team at 717-299-2831.

 

 

Problem Gambling in Veterans May Have Links to Military Experiences, Other Factors [Research]

Researchers have found that military experiences and post-deployment stressors may be associated with higher rates of problem gambling in U.S. veterans.

The researchers collected secondary data from 738 American military veterans who had participated in the Survey of the Experiences of Returning Veterans (SERV) study. The veterans answered questions about their psychiatric health, gambling behavior, and military service history. In addition, they responded to questions about post-deployment stressors, including legal or financial issues and violent encounters, as well as post-deployment support.

The findings, which were analyzed by WAGER, revealed that 4.2% of the veterans reported at-risk or problem gambling. Other key findings include:

  • Those with at-risk or problem gambling were more likely to report PTSD, panic disorder, depression, and substance abuse.
  • Those with at-risk or problem gambling scored higher on non-sexual harassment during deployment and post-deployment stressors, and they scored lower on post-deployment support.
  • Those with at-risk or problem gambling and those who gambled socially were more likely to report Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

This research supports previous findings that show military veterans are at risk for gambling problems. They also suggest a connection between service-related experiences, both during and after deployment.

Unhealthy gambling is a problem for many in our nation’s military. The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) estimates about 36,000 active-duty service members may be at risk for problem gambling—an issue not helped by the fact that American military installations overseas are home to at least 3,000 slot machines.

How to Get Help for Problem Gambling

If you’re a veteran concerned about your gambling behavior, contact your VA medical center or community clinic. You can also check out Make the Connection, an online mental well-being resource from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

To find additional gambling addiction prevention and treatment resources in Lancaster, PA or Lebanon, PA, contact the Compass Mark team at 717-299-2831 or fill out our simple Help Form.

 

Problem Gambling: 36,000 Active Duty Military Members May Meet Criteria

Overseas slot machines at American military installations generate an estimated $100,000,000 in profits, according to the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG). Yet those 3,000+ machines may have a real-life cost that goes much higher: about 36,000 active duty service members are believed to meet the criteria for problem gambling.

Problem gambling is not a money problem or a matter of “poor” willpower. Gambling addiction is a brain condition that negatively–and often profoundly–impacts a person’s ability to carry on daily life. The inability to control gambling urges affects mental and physical well-being and often causes relationship problems that can lead to estrangement, separation, or divorce.

Gambling Addiction and the Military: Statistics
Find Help for Problem Gambling in Veterans

Gambling addiction is treatable. Contact your local VA medical center or community clinic to learn more about gambling addiction resources and treatment. You can also visit Make the Connection, a Department of Veterans Affairs online resource for problem gambling and other conditions, like alcohol abuse and PTSD.

Compass Mark can also guide you in the right direction. We offer compulsive gambling resources to individuals and families in Lancaster, PA and Lebanon, PA. Call our compassionate team at 717-299-2831 or fill out the online Help Form.

To learn if you or someone you love is at risk for problem gambling, take the quiz on the SafeStakes home page.