Concerns grow over gambling addiction in the military

by | Jul 3, 2024 | Business

Sinenkiy | Istock | Getty ImagesIn the wake of 9/11 on an American military base in South Korea, then-Army Staff Sergeant Dave Yeager sat down at a slot machine operated by the Defense Department and made what he now calls the biggest mistake a budding problem gambler can make: He won.”All that stress, all that tension, all the things that I was carrying with me in that moment went away,” Yeager told CNBC.What was supposed to be entertainment, a way for servicemembers to relax, instead for Yeager grew into a disorder that would cost him his career, his financial security and his family.”It went from, I was have fun doing this, to, I have to do this. It became an obsession for me,” he said.In his book, “Fall In: A Veteran with a Gambling Addiction,” Yeager wrote about how he borrowed from subordinates, stole from petty cash and left his family in a lurch financially. Such vulnerability in a servicemember affects individual readiness and potentially even national security, if enemies were to exploit it, he pointed out.Dave Yeager got hooked on slot machines when he was deployed to South Korea. Today, he counsels others about gambling disorder.CNBCYet, when Yeager said he confessed of that vulnerability to his commanders and his counselors, no one pointed the finger at his gambling, or helped him to help himself.”The chaplain told me to go to bingo night on Sunday. That would give me something to do,” Yeager said. “And I’m like, ‘I think you’re missing the point here.'”As of 2017, the Department of Defense operated more than 3,100 slot machines on U.S. military installations in a dozen foreign countries, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office. The machines produce more than $100 million annually in revenue and is seen as a morale booster for the welfare and recreation for servicemembers akin to activities like golf, libraries and other entertainment.Overseas, servicemembers as young as 18 may be permitted to gamble.Domestically, slot machines are prohibited on military bases, though casinos are frequently located nearby. There are seven local casinos located within 20 minutes …

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[mwai_chat context=”Let’s have a discussion about this article:nnSinenkiy | Istock | Getty ImagesIn the wake of 9/11 on an American military base in South Korea, then-Army Staff Sergeant Dave Yeager sat down at a slot machine operated by the Defense Department and made what he now calls the biggest mistake a budding problem gambler can make: He won.”All that stress, all that tension, all the things that I was carrying with me in that moment went away,” Yeager told CNBC.What was supposed to be entertainment, a way for servicemembers to relax, instead for Yeager grew into a disorder that would cost him his career, his financial security and his family.”It went from, I was have fun doing this, to, I have to do this. It became an obsession for me,” he said.In his book, “Fall In: A Veteran with a Gambling Addiction,” Yeager wrote about how he borrowed from subordinates, stole from petty cash and left his family in a lurch financially. Such vulnerability in a servicemember affects individual readiness and potentially even national security, if enemies were to exploit it, he pointed out.Dave Yeager got hooked on slot machines when he was deployed to South Korea. Today, he counsels others about gambling disorder.CNBCYet, when Yeager said he confessed of that vulnerability to his commanders and his counselors, no one pointed the finger at his gambling, or helped him to help himself.”The chaplain told me to go to bingo night on Sunday. That would give me something to do,” Yeager said. “And I’m like, ‘I think you’re missing the point here.'”As of 2017, the Department of Defense operated more than 3,100 slot machines on U.S. military installations in a dozen foreign countries, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office. The machines produce more than $100 million annually in revenue and is seen as a morale booster for the welfare and recreation for servicemembers akin to activities like golf, libraries and other entertainment.Overseas, servicemembers as young as 18 may be permitted to gamble.Domestically, slot machines are prohibited on military bases, though casinos are frequently located nearby. There are seven local casinos located within 20 minutes …nnDiscussion:nn” ai_name=”RocketNews AI: ” start_sentence=”Can I tell you more about this article?” text_input_placeholder=”Type ‘Yes'”]
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