A study revealed that military personnel are 3.5 times more likely to have problem gambling than ordinary civilians. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
A study jointly conducted by the University of Nevada and Las Vegas (UNLV) and Bowling Green State University found rates of problem gambling to be 3.5 times higher among active military personnel than the general population.
Dr. Shane W. Krause of UNLV’s Department of Psychology and Dr. Joshua Grubbs of Bowling Green State University presented the findings Monday during the International Center for Responsible Gaming (ICRG) Conference on Gambling and Addiction in Las Vegas. Previous research in this area has been almost non-existent, leaving Monday’s revelations with a larger-than-usual impact.
68.6% of active service members were at risk of gambling problems
The study surveyed 3,050 US citizens, ranging from active duty to retired military to civilians, and found that 68.6% of active duty members have problem gambling, compared to 18.7% of the regular population. Although only 102 active members were questioned, 70 members were found to have traits associated with problem gambling.
Gambling problem in the army
The study, which is one of the first longitudinal tests in this group of people, was funded by the Kindbridge Research Institute (KRI) to identify the trend, if any, toward problem gambling in the military. DraftKings and Playtech also made significant contributions to the funding pool.
KRI is at the forefront of research and treatment for military veterans suffering from gambling addiction. One of his main areas of focus is the 50x4Vets project, which aims to increase the treatment rate for veterans with problem gambling 50 times in the next four years.
Dr Krause said that while the findings are interesting, they need to spend more time investigating the matter.
More comprehensive research is needed to understand”
“Our findings suggest that more comprehensive research is needed to understand the prevalence of problem gambling among active-duty workers,” Krause said. “Current trends in the data indicate that there are likely to be many service members with unmet treatment needs for problem gambling.”
Dr. Nathan D. L. Smith, executive director of the Kindbridge Research Institute, said he would also like to see a more comprehensive view of problem gambling rates with a larger group of subjects.
“Because of the sampling method and small sample size, the rate of problem gambling in this sample cannot be generalized to the broader active duty military community,” Smith said. “However, the significant rate of active-duty gambling problems is a major red flag and larger, more representative studies of the active-duty military are now necessary to determine the true rate of gambling disorder in this population.”
The United States Army is responsible for developing the traits of problem gambling in many soldiers and women. The US Department of Defense (DoD) operates more than 3,000 slot machines on various military bases overseas, generating a combined annual revenue of approximately $100 million.
A recent KRG review of gambling policies compared the Department of Defense to 35 states with legal operations. In the end, I found that the Department of Defense had the worst and most problematic jurisdiction.
“Our review concluded that the Department of Defense requires only one of the 10 responsible gambling policies recommended by the American Gaming Association, while the average number of responsible gambling policies required in the other 35 states was just over seven,” Dr. Smith said.
It is often discouraged to seek help
Smith also spoke about the psychology of military personnel, who are often discouraged from seeking help in many areas, including gambling addiction.
The active-duty military seeks to help with problem gambling at rates much lower than the civilian population. The reasons for this are likely to be complex, but the main factor may be that active military service could face consequences in their careers, including dismissal if military medical personnel report a gambling problem.”