Military Gambling Is a Serious Issue


  • Approximately 36,000 active-duty military members meet criteria for a gambling problem.
  • At least 3,000 slot machines are available to members of the Armed Forces and their families overseas.
    • It is estimated that these machines generate over $100 million in profits.
    • None of these profits are dedicated to programs to prevent or treat gambling addiction.
  • Gambling addiction can lead to serious critical thinking problems.
    • Disordered gamblers have higher rates of bankruptcy, domestic violence, and suicide (which are already prevalent among many military veterans).
    • They also have extensive co-occurring substance abuse problems and mental health disorders.
  • Studies find gambling addiction rates are higher among active-duty military and veterans than the general population.

*Statistics from the National Council on Problem Gambling

These alarming statistics need to be addressed. American heroes are putting their lives on the line, and an overwhelming number of them suffer from some form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Many of these members develop disordered gambling behavior when they experience difficult readjusting to an “ordinary” civilian life. While in the service and during leisure time, some active duty members opt to play card games, dice, or make “friendly” wagers on big events such as the Super Bowl, NCAA March Madness, or the Kentucky Derby. These behaviors can spiral out of control. Risking money, freedom, and relationships by wagering, borrowing, and potentially stealing is not as scary as risking lives on the front lines, but it is a serious matter.

In a study back in 2006, 120 men were surveyed about pathological gambling. The full study can be viewed HERE. Information on the subjects:

  • 75% were ages 56-60
  • 92% were combat veterans
  • 80% were Vietnam vets
  • 71% were married or in a committed relationship
  • 75% had a VA diagnosis of PTSD

The results:
The authors found that 85% of the participants had gambled in the past year. The study also found that 20% of them (24 people) were classified as “probable pathological gamblers” based on the screening. Although it was a small sample size that focused on an older demographic, many health professionals believe that military gambling is an issue for active-duty armed forces as well as veterans.

The Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey is actively working around the clock to provide a gambling help hotline in Freehold, NJ, Atlantic City, NJ, and the entire country. Our 24/7 gambling helpline in Freehold, NJ, and beyond can be reached by dialing 1-800-GAMBLER. We also offer meeting lists, brochures, and a 24/7 textline to give people who need assistance multiple resources when treating their addictions. Whether you are a military vet or not, we can help. Support, treatment, and hope are just a call or click away.


Translate »