Gambling is an addiction that doesn’t discriminate. It can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender or socio-economic background. But perhaps one of the more surprising segments of our population at risk are active military members and veterans.
For active military, gambling can be a way to cope with boredom, stress and depression. Service members are often deployed to secluded areas with limited access to entertainment. Military bases are sometimes close to casinos. While it may seem like an innocent source of recreation – it has led to some issues. According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, it’s estimated that between 36,000 and 48,000 active duty service members have gambling problems.
Veterans are also susceptible to problem gambling. Post-traumatic stress and difficulty readjusting to civilian life can lead veterans to seek the escape offered by gambling. This can lead to financial woes, property loss and damaged relationships with family and friends.
It’s a situation with no simple answers. But making sure that service members and veterans get the help they need starts with raising awareness and increasing educational efforts around the seriousness of problem gambling.
Read the story of one Ohio veteran below.