July 4, 2024 3 min read


Fact-checked by Velimir Velichkov

Gambling Addiction among US Military Sparks Growing Concerns

The growing expansion of sports betting contributes to the fears about excessive gambling among US military personnel

The expansion of sports betting across the United States stirred fear about the potential increase in gambling addiction. While several athletes have already been involved in gambling-related scandals, disgruntled gamblers also made their mark by posting threats on social media against professional and collegiate athletes.

However, the expansion of gambling raises concerns not only about the rise in addiction within the civilian population but the military too. Talks about the proceeds of US military slots, that generate some $100 million annually, stirred addiction fears.

More than 3,000 slot machines, operated by the US military in bases across the globe, enable servicemen to gain access to such gambling activities. The revenue generated by the slots helps deliver other recreational activities and amenities for servicemen and servicewomen.

Dominick DePhilippis, the US Department of Veterans Affairs’ deputy national mental health director for substance abuse disorders, who was recently interviewed by CNBC, revealed that the increase in problem gambling doesn’t come as a surprise. He pointed to the growth of availability and the ease of accessibility to gambling activities, creating the perfect environment for addiction and harm.

It’s not terribly surprising, because with accessibility and availability increases, we tend to see a rise in unhealthy engagement.

Dominick DePhilippis, deputy national mental health director for substance abuse disorders at the US Department of Veterans Affairs

Addiction to Gambling among US Military Personnel Is Understudied

Despite fears, the Department of Defense pointed to Health Related Behavior survey which outlined that gambling addiction among US military personnel was between 1.6% and 1.7%.

Those figures were not far from the percentage of civilians addicted to gambling. Yet, the aforementioned survey dates back to 2018, which was the year that marked the repeal of PASPA which paved the way for the sports betting expansion across the country.

This otherwise means that the nationwide impact of the expansion of sports betting among US military personnel is yet to be determined.

Amid fears about the impact of gambling on military personnel, Rep. Paul Tonko filed an amendment that called for the ban of slot gambling on military bases. The proposal supported changes to the National Defense Authorization Act.

Dave Yeager, a former Army Staff Sergeant, who was interviewed by CNBC, spoke about the dangers of excessive gambling. He described his experience with gambling as something that started as fun and relaxing and ended in an obsession and addiction.

Yeager warned that the addiction can be crippling for military personnel as it may impact their individual readiness. At the same time, he spoke about the broader implications that may be a threat to national security, should enemies take advantage of it.


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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