The National Council on Problem Gambling has welcomed the reintroduction of the bipartisan Gambling Addiction Prevention Act of 2019.
The council says that the act will help protect the health and welfare of US service personnel as it would deter the spread of gambling addiction.
The revised GAP act calls for developing policies and programs to tackle the issues of compulsive gambling and also take steps towards the treatment of gambling problems. The responsibility is extended to the Department of Defense, and it would have to work in coordination with its other behavioral health efforts.
Keith Whyte, executive director of NCPG, welcomed the decision and said: “I applaud Senators Daines and Warren and Representative Lee for taking the lead on the GAP Act to address problem gambling in the military. NCPG believes there exists an ethical and economic obligation to protect our troops by preventing gambling addiction.
“Problem gambling is a critical issue that is far too often overlooked. Research reveals that problem gambling uniquely impacts the military. For example, an estimated 56,000 service members meet the criteria for problem gambling, while military members lost $100m on 3,000 slot machines at overseas bases in 2018 alone.
“Clearly, the Department of Defense holds an even higher obligation to address problem gambling because of the windfall profits they make from gambling.”