Press & Updates

Statement of The Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health on Bipartisan Bill to Address Gambling Addiction Among Servicemembers

Tuesday May 15, 2018 – The Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health lauded Senators Elizabeth Warren (D- MA) and Steven Daines (R-MT) for filing legislation today that would help members of the US military and their families treat and prevent gambling disorder. The Gambling Addiction Prevention (GAP) Act of 2018 implements the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) recommendations related to screening for gambling disorder by requiring the DOD to include gambling disorder screening questions in health assessments for members of the armed forces and in other survey and research efforts. The bill also requires the DOD to develop policies and programs to prevent and treat gambling problems, in coordination with other behavioral health efforts. On military sites where gambling activities take place, such policies and programs would include provision of educational materials and promotion of responsible behavior. “We applaud the efforts of Senator Warren and Senator Daines for their commitment to preventing and treating gambling problems and addiction in our military,” said Marlene Warner, Executive Director of The Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health. “We know that active service members and veterans are at a higher risk for gambling disorder, and are often are reluctant to seek help. By screening service members and providing pertinent information about risks associated with gambling – we can prevent problem gambling before it happens, and better treat those who are already suffering. We urge Congress in this bipartisan effort to support our military by passing this common-sense bill, and also urge any veterans who think they may have an issue with gambling to contact our organization for help.” A 2017 report by the GAO found that while slot machines were removed from all domestic military installations after 1951 – when Congress prohibited gambling devices from being installed or used on any possession of the United States – the Department of Defense (DOD) currently has 3,141 slot machines on overseas U.S. military installations. Between fiscal years 2011 and 2015, those slot machines generated approximately $100 million per year for the Department. However, the GAO also found that the DOD does not systematically screen military personnel for gambling disorder. The GAP Act also includes a provision for the DOD to provide educational materials and information on responsible behavior and risks associated with gambling.

About Mass. Council on Compulsive Gambling

The Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health offers programs to prevent problem gambling, connect the public with treatment and intervention services and support those in recovery. Among the services it provides is a 24-hour problem gambling support helpline, prevention programs in schools, recovery services, and numerous other programs across the Commonwealth. The Mass. Council does not take a position in favor or against legalized gambling. Call 800-426-1234 with questions or concerns about your gambling.


Warren, Daines Unveil Bipartisan Bill to Address Gambling Addiction Among Servicemembers | U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts

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