June 7, 2024 3 min read


Fact-checked by Velimir Velichkov

Amendment Calls for a Ban on Slot Gambling within US Military Bases

Rep. Paul Tonko filed the proposal which anticipates changes to the National Defense Authorization Act

A ban on slot gambling on US military bases was imposed back in the 1950s. However, a couple of decades later, the restriction was lifted, marking the return of slot machines for military personnel.

Data from a Government Accountability Office report from 2017 reveals that approximately 3,000 slot machines, operated by the US military generated an excess of $100 million in annual revenue. The slot machines were positioned in military bases overseas, including South Korea, Japan and Germany, among a dozen countries.

Amid addiction fears, a new proposal seeks to remove the slot machines from US military bases, protecting the soldiers from excessive gambling and harm. The proposal comes from Rep. Paul Tonko, who recently filed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that calls to prohibit slot gambling.

Generating an estimated $100 million in revenue, military slot machines play a key role in funding other recreational activities for the soldiers, according to the Pentagon. However, fears of excessive gambling continue to mount.

Military Personnel More Likely to Develop Gambling Addiction

Rep. Tonko, who was recently quoted by Military.com, spoke about the classification of gambling disorder within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), outlining that the condition fits the same category as alcohol, tobacco and heroin. “Worryingly, studies show that military members are more likely to develop gambling disorder,” he warned.

I’ve been leading the charge in Congress to address the rise in problem gambling, and I’m hopeful my NDAA provision would lessen the risk of our service members developing a gambling addiction.

Rep. Paul Tonko

Tonko explained that his amendment seeks to address concerns related to the uptick of problem gambling and help decrease the risk of gambling addictions among military personnel. He acknowledged the courage of the men and women in the military, saying that they “sacrifice everything to protect our nation and its freedoms.” Finally, Tonko said that it is imperative to support the US military servicemen and women by confronting gambling addiction.

A debate on amendments to the NDAA is expected next week in the House. Yet, it is unclear whether Tonko’s proposal would gain traction, considering that more than 1,000 amendments to the NDAA have been filed by lawmakers. Usually, several hundred of the proposed amendments receive a green light.

According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, approximately 56,000 people employed by the US military may be classified for a gambling disorder. On a larger scale, 1% of the US population is affected by problem gambling.


Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.

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