June 18, 2015

Senate adopts Warren amendment to study problem gambling prevention, treatment, and financial counselling options for servicemembers

Text of the amendment is available here

WASHINGTON, DC - The United States Senate today adopted an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) introduced by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) calling for a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study into the assistance available to American servicemembers with gambling addictions. The study would gather information about gaming facilities on military installations and examine whether additional training and resources are needed to treat problem gambling.

"If the military is going to operate gambling facilities that bring in tens of millions of dollars in revenue, it also needs to ensure there is adequate prevention, treatment, and financial counseling available for servicemembers struggling with gambling addictions," Senator Warren said. "By examining the risk of problem gambling among servicemembers and the resources currently available, this amendment is an important first step in helping members of the Armed Forces and their families who are affected by problem gambling."

According to the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), the Department of Defense currently operates an estimated 3,000 slot machines at military installations overseas, which generate more than $100,000,000 in estimated revenue used for other recreational activities. Bingo games on military installations in the United States also generate millions of dollars annually. Despite these revenues, the Department of Defense has no dedicated treatment program or prevention efforts for problem gambling.