Dependencies on gambling are currently running rampant throughout the country. But one sect of the population that has not gotten a lot of attention are people who are in the military and finding themselves yearning for casinos and sports betting. Delaware State News recently shed light on this problem in a new article, which illustrated just how severe this addiction has become for those who have gone through active service.
According to their research, an estimated 10 percent of all U.S. military cadets and veterans are currently battling a gambling addiction. The situation has gotten so prominent that conferences have now been set up to assist armed service members who have lost everything to a roll of the dice.
Service Members, Veterans and Gambling Addiction was the name of the Delaware event covered by the State News. Featuring recovery advocates, motivational speakers and even casino representatives, it served as a forum where military personnel could share their stories and receive help.
“This is an event where we try to focus on something that is within our mission which is problem gambling, but we’re focusing on a particular population — the military veterans population,” organizer Jeff Wasserman told the outlet. “The reason why we are doing that is because they are a high at-risk population. Not only are we providing the general information on how to get treated for or how to prevent the addiction, but we’re really tailoring it towards the veteran community”
Several prominent speakers attended this latest event, including author Dave Yeager, who recently published the book Journeys Through Trauma, Addiction, Rock-Bottom and Recovery. Noted physician and recovery specialist Dr. Heather Chapman was another keynote speaker, who provided some alarming stats about this particular community.
“Active duty alone, the latest statistic I saw, showed that 56,000 active-duty service members have a problem with gambling,” Dr. Chapman explained to the crowd. “That’s alarming, not only because of the impact it has on themselves and their families, but it becomes a national security issue in some cases because people who have gambling problems might be more vulnerable because of their obsession and compulsion to get money to gamble.”
One of the final speakers, Delaware Council on Gambling Problems executive director Arlene Simon, summed up the situation quite well, emphasizing that these types of personnel should be sympathized with amid this crisis.
“Members of the military are seen as strong, courageous, highly disciplined and almost invincible individuals,” she explained. “Consequently, I think their susceptibility to addiction gets overlooked. Because in reality, active military and veterans are human like everyone else — and frequently they experience the trauma, substance addictions and mental health challenges that can give rise to problem gambling.”