Press & Updates

Statement of The Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health on the Inclusion of Gambling Disorder Screening in the National Defense Authorization Act 2019

Norwood, MA (August 14, 2018) –

On Monday August 13, 2018 President Trump signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2019. A provision was included in the legislation requiring members of the Armed Forces to be screened for gambling addiction. This provision now requires that the Department of Defense incorporate gambling disorder specific screening questions in the next annual periodic health assessment conducted by the Department, as well as in the Health Related Behaviors Surveys of Active-Duty and reserve service members. A report will be submitted to Congress on the findings of the assessment and surveys in connection with the prevalence of gambling disorder.

A top legislative priority for the National Council on Problem Gambling for 16 years, which Marlene Warner serves as President of the Board of Directors, “this is a great first step to improving the lives of our service members. We applaud the efforts of Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren for championing this initiative and appreciate her continued support.”

Warner continues “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 we can prevent problem gambling before it happens, and better treat those who are already suffering.”

The National Council on Problem Gambling estimates that as many as 56,000 active duty members of the Armed Forces meet criteria for gambling disorder. The Department of Defense currently generates roughly $100 million each year from the 3,141 slot machines on overseas bases. Slots have been outlawed on domestically on military bases since 1951.

If you are concerned about a loved one’s gambling, have the conversation about problem gambling and share our confidential, 24-hour helpline 800-426-1234. We understand the problem and we can help.

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.


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