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Concerns grow over gambling addiction in the military

·2 mins

Diagnoses of gambling disorders among military personnel and veterans are increasing, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. The research found that servicemembers are more susceptible to gambling disorders than civilians and may be reluctant to seek help. Promotions from casinos and sportsbooks targeting military personnel and veterans may contribute to the issue. A former servicemember shared his experience of developing a gambling addiction while stationed at a military base and the lack of support he received. The Department of Defense operates slot machines on foreign military bases, generating over $100 million in revenue annually. While slot machines are prohibited on domestic bases, casinos are often located nearby. The legalization of sports gambling in many states has further expanded opportunities for wagering. The VA operates treatment facilities for gambling addiction and has partnerships with civilian facilities. The military conducts screenings for gambling disorders and servicemembers are not penalized for seeking treatment. However, consistent policies and education programs across all military bases are lacking. Efforts have been made to pass legislation addressing gambling disorders among servicemembers but have not been successful. Casinos and sportsbooks often send targeted promotions to military personnel and veterans. Some casinos offer military-themed membership cards and rewards to veterans. While some companies have chosen not to target military members or veterans with gambling promotions, others provide non-gambling promotions and fund research on gambling disorders among the military community.