FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 14, 2018
CONTACT: Cait Huble
WASHINGTON, DC (August 14, 2018) – On Monday, August 13, 2018 President Trump signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (NDAA) that includes a provision requiring members of the Armed Forces to be screened for gambling addiction. This has been a top legislative priority for the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) for the past 16 years. Gambling disorder screening questions were included in large scale surveys of active duty personnel throughout the 1990’s until 2002, when the questions were removed.
Section 733 of the House Armed Services Committee Report 115-874 requires the Department of Defense (DoD) to incorporate medical screening questions specific to gambling disorder in the next annual periodic health assessment conducted by the Department as well as in the Health Related Behaviors Surveys of Active-Duty and reserve component servicemembers. The Secretary of Defense is required to submit a report to Congress on the findings of the assessment and surveys in connection with the prevalence of gambling disorder among servicemembers.
NCPG Executive Director Keith Whyte said “Previous DoD surveys have found active duty personnel are two to three times more likely to have gambling problems than civilians. Better detection of gambling problems improves overall health and reduces social costs. Undetected gambling addiction exacerbates substance use disorders, depression and suicidal behavior.”
Whyte continued “NCPG strongly believes military personnel need and deserve effective gambling addiction prevention, education, treatment, enforcement, research, responsible gaming and recovery services. With the provision requiring members of the Armed Forces to be screened for gambling addiction, championed by Senator Elizabeth Warren, we take a vital step to improving the lives of servicemembers and their families.”
The DoD generates $100 million each year from the 3,141 slot machines on overseas bases. Slot machines have been outlawed on domestic military installations since 1951. The National Council on Problem Gambling estimates that as many as 56,000 active duty members of the Armed Forces meet criteria for gambling disorder.
About the National Council on Problem Gambling
NCPG is the national advocate for problem gamblers and their families. NCPG is neutral on legalized gambling and works with all stakeholders to promote responsible gaming. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call or text the National Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-522-4700 or visit www.ncpgambling.org/chat for confidential help.