- Research conducted by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and Bowling Green State University reveals that the number of gambling problems among active-duty military personnel was 3.5 times higher than among civilians
- The rate of problem gambling among active-duty military personnel was 68.6% compared to 18.7% among civilians
- Of the 102 active duty employees who completed the survey, 70 had screened positive for problem gambling
At the International Center for Responsible Gaming (ICRG) conference on gambling and addiction in Las Vegas yesterday, Shane W Kraus, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, UNLV, and Joshua Grubbs, Ph.D., Bowling Green State University, revealed a potentially large and alarming discrepancy between problem gambling among the military community compared to civilians.
Because research in this area is scarce, Dr. Kraus funded behavioral health expert Kindbridge Research Institute (KRI) to analyze data from a large sample of military personnel, representing one of the first longitudinal studies of gambling in this group.
The study of 3,050 U.S. civilians, veterans, and active-duty military personnel found that the rate of problem gambling among active-duty military personnel (68.6%) was 3.5 times higher than among civilians (18.7%). While the sample of 102 active duty members who completed the survey was relatively small, 70 of them screened positive for problem gambling.
After his presentation on Monday dr fringe, said: “Our findings suggest that more extensive research is needed to fully understand how pervasive the problem of gambling problems is among active duty personnel. Current trends in the data suggest that there may be many service workers with unmet treatment needs for gambling problems.”
KRI leads the drive to increase awareness, research, and treatment of U.S. veterans suffering from gambling disorders through its Military Research Associate Program (MRAP), which helps veterans transition from military service to advanced training in mental health treatment and research, and her 50x4Vets project, whose goal is to increase the number of studies examining the treatment of veterans with a gambling disorder 50-fold over the next four years.
This research was supported by donations to KRI from DraftKings and Playtech. The data was collected as part of the funding awarded to Drs. Joshua Grubbs and Shane Kraus for their work on ICRG sports betting.
Commenting on the findings of Dr. kraus, Nathan DL Smith, PhD, Executive Director of the Kindbridge Research Institute, said: “This really is a canary in a coal mine moment. Due to the sampling method and small sample size, the degree of problem gambling in this sample cannot be generalized to the wider active-duty military community. However, the significant number of gambling disorders in active-duty military personnel is a major red flag, and larger, more representative studies of active-duty military personnel are now vital to determine the true number of gambling disorders in this population.
The United States Department of Defense (DoD) operates more than 3,000 slot machines on overseas bases generating more than $100 million dollars in revenue each year. A recent review of state-imposed responsible gambling policies and the DoD by KRI ranked the DoD the worst of the 36 jurisdictions with legal gambling on slot machines.
dr. Smith said, “Our research concluded that the DoD requires only one of ten 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. used to be.”
Another major problem facing military personnel who suffer from a gambling disorder is apparently a disincentive to seek help.
dr. Smith added: “Active duty servicemen seek help for gambling problems at significantly lower rates than the civilian population. The reasons for this are likely complex, but an important factor may be that active-duty military personnel may face career consequences, including dismissal, if they report a gambling problem to military medical personnel.
“People with untreated gambling problems can get caught up in a destructive cycle of negative feelings and gambling to escape those feelings, leading to more negative emotions. In a situation where treatment is not available, these harmful spirals can cause significant damage to a person’s private life, career, mental health and finances.
“In severe cases, a person in a negative spiral may exhibit suicidal behavior. In one study, 40% of US veterans treated for gambling problems reported a suicide attempt.”