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Kindbridge Research Institute’s New Committee Will Aid Military, Department Of Defense In Problem Gambling Awareness

Kindbridge Research Institute announced the establishment of the Military Gambling Awareness Committee to aid the military community.

Members Of The US Army 173rd Airborne Brigade
Photo by AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis
J.R. Duren Avatar
3 mins read

Kindbridge Research Institute (KRI), a Washington DC-based organization that studies and advocates for military mental health, announced the establishment of the Military Gambling Awareness Committee (MGAC). This initiative will address the harm caused by gambling in the military community.

KRI Senior Military Research Associate Mark Lucia told PlayUSA that the goal for MGAC is all about the mental health and readiness of military personnel:

“We envision collaborating closely with the Department of Defense to identify policy gaps and provide evidence-based approaches for policy adjustments and programming. Grounded in a public health approach, we aim to integrate mental health support and responsible gambling strategies to create a supportive environment by leveraging our diverse skills, experiences, and networks.”

The committee consists of seven people:

  1. KRI Senior Military Research Associate Mark Lucia
  2. Policy advisor Brianne Doura-Schawohl
  3. Gambling industry rep and MGM responsible gaming expert Richard Taylor
  4. Sports industry rep and NASCAR Managing Director of Sports Betting Joe Solosky
  5. Tech and security expert Joseph Martin
  6. Public affairs advisor Caroline Ponseti
  7. Educational program developer David Yeager

Key takeaways

  • Kindbridge Research Institute has formed a military-focused gambling awareness committee made up of seven members.
  • The committee will work with the Department of Defense to “enhance the welfare and operation readiness” of servicemembers.
  • Screening for problem gambling is already taking place among the multiple branches of the military.

Military personnel face risks that can exacerbate gambling issues

Life as a member of the military can evolve into an exhausting concoction of stress and anxiety. Soldiers stationed in the US and abroad can be away from their loved ones for months.

Culture shock, loneliness and other factors become a daily reality. For those who we send to war, the emotional, physical, and psychological toll becomes more acute.

Lucia said this web of mental health issues open the door for gambling problems:

“Military members are at an elevated risk for gambling disorder due to conditions commonly associated with both military service and gambling disorder, such as PTSD, anxiety, depression, and suicidality. These risk factors are not unique to the military but are often more concentrated, exposing service members to a higher potential for gambling-related harms.”

To make matters worse, some military bases overseas have slot machines that service members, their families, and contractors can play. Access to gambling via phones is another danger area, too.

Though mobile betting and slot machines aren’t unique to military life, the added mental load of “frequent travel, intermittent stress, separation from family, and periods of boredom” presents a greater risk for servicepeople.

Committee will help military advance gambling understanding and advocacy

While responsible gaming and problem gambling resources have evolved considerably over the past six years in many states, the military Department of Defense (DoD) is in the early stages of forming a systemic approach to curbing problem gambling and promoting responsible gambling resources.

Lucia pointed out that his organization believes that all branches of the military are screening for gambling disorders.

There is still work to be done, though. KRI’s research has found that the military and DoD’s responsible gaming measures and best practices have a lot of room to grow.

MGAC hopes to enter the DOD’s maturing approach to problem gambling and help leadership understand what’s at stake. Policy changes and programs that can improve mental health and increase awareness about responsible gaming are likely ahead.

“We believe this is a nuanced public health issue that requires unique expertise and hope to provide meaningful solutions for the Department of Defense and its component commands,” Lucia said.

J.R. Duren Avatar
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J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

View all posts by J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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