The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) released today a report on gambling and gambling problems in the Armed Forces and the need for additional steps to prevent, screen and treat gambling addiction among service members. This report is the result of years of work by the National Council on Problem Gambling on this important issue. NCPG coordinated a grassroots advocacy campaign in conjunction with the Board of Directors, state Affiliate chapters, our Federal Affairs and Military Committees, and individual members including recovering gamblers who developed their problems on active duty.
Now it is time to raise public awareness of these issues and push DoD to implement the recommendations in the report. NCPG reiterates our longstanding offer to assist with these efforts and to work cooperatively with all stakeholders identified in the report to ensure that those who serve receive the best possible behavioral healthcare, including access to comprehensive gambling addiction services. As the report notes, DoD collected more than $500 million in revenue from DoD-run slot machines on military bases between 2011 and 2015. At the very least this money comes with an obligation to minimize harm related to gambling addiction.
Look for additional information on this issue as NCPG will continue to advocate for programs to reduce the social costs of problem gambling.
The complete report is available on the GAO website or here: GAO-17-144 MILITARY PERSONNEL DOD and Coast Guard Need to Screen for Gambling Disorder Addiction and Update Guidance