Operation Responsible Gambling
Veterans and active-duty service members have a greater risk for gambling addiction.
But don’t take our word for it. See below for some real stories from veterans in recovery from gambling addiction, how to avoid it and what to do about it.
Being Smart about gambling will:
Help you steer clear of an addiction.
Protect you, your family and your career.
We encourage you to protect yourself through knowledge and action:
Learn how to gamble safely and help others do the same.
Learn what problem gambling is and how to recognize it.
Know how to get help wherever you are – both self-help and professional help.
Find out what other people like you are doing about it.
Research consistently finds that rates of gambling addiction among veterans and active-duty personnel are significantly higher than the general population, and highest among minorities.
Nationally between 1% and 3% of the general adult (18+) population, or over 5.1 million people, experience a gambling problem every year.
But veterans and active-duty personnel have fewer options for prevention and treatment than the general public.
Problem gambling and gambling addiction are serious issues.
They are often hidden, or not something that many people are aware of.
They often occur alongside other problems such as PTSD, alcohol disorder and substance abuse.
They complicate the treatment of those disorders, and vice versa.
One person’s gambling addiction may also lead to negative consequences for loved ones and concerned others.
Each person with a gambling addiction or gambling problems may also affect 7 or more other people in their circle. Viewed through this lens, the estimated number of people affected is over 35 million. This includes family members, team members and professional colleagues, and their wider community.
The goal of Operation Responsible Gambling is to Increase awareness of gambling problems among members of the entire military community – veterans, active-duty personnel, family members and concerned others.
Operation Responsible Gambling is an initiative of the National Council on Problem Gambling (US), with funding from the Entain Foundation US and in-kind support from RG24seven. These materials were created in professionals with experience in treating gambling addiction, gambling addiction prevention specialists and communications professionals.
For the vast majority, gambling is fun and entertaining experience, but there are risks involved. Knowing the risks and having a plan before you begin gambling is critical. Whether it’s your first bet or you’ve been gambling for years, before you wager, consider the following tips to help you keep gambling fun.
Have a plan before you bet – know how much you’re willing to lose and how long you want to play.
Treat gambling as a form of entertainment and not a way to make money.
Know and respect your tolerance for risk.
Hope to win but expect to lose. Remember you’re playing to have a good time – never chase your losses.
When it’s no longer fun, take a break.
Know how the game works and what the odds are before you bet.
Never borrow money to gamble that you can’t afford.
Consider bringing a battle buddy with you to help each other stick to the plan.
Balance gambling with other activities.
Consider setting a timer on your phone to help you keep track of time.
It’s important to remember that some of these may or may not work for you. We’re all different in how we approach gambling, so try things out and find what works best for you. What’s important is that you’re being self-aware so you can keep gambling a fun and positive experience. Remember, if gambling is no longer fun, help is available and can be effective. Speak out and seek help.
Getting Help for a Problem
We welcome and value those who seek help, and those who speak up to help others. Recovery is possible and treatment works.
If you or someone you know may have a gambling problem, hope and help is available. Contact the National Problem Gambling Helpline via 1-800-522-4700 (call and text) or www.ncpgambling.org/chat.
The NCPG website includes other free resources to help you:
FAQs: What is Problem Gambling?
Podcasts to learn more about gambling addiction and problem gambling, including the Fall-in Podcast @FallInPodcast by and for military service members and veterans.
Take a short self-assessment quiz.
Learn about self-exclusion (Pennsylvania example – each state has its own rules and systems).
Find a state-based affiliate chapter near you with local help resources.
Find Gamblers Anonymous and Gam-Anon self-help meetings, both in-person and by phone or online.
Explore professional help from a private counselor or treatment facility with a certified gambling counselor or treatment program.
Protect yourself from future financial harm: read a workbook for spouses and family members, known as “The Loved Ones Guide.”
Veterans may qualify for gambling addiction services through the Veterans Administration. Contact your local VA for eligibility and referral information.
Some VA facilities offer outpatient treatment services.
The Louis Stokes VAMC in Cleveland, OH provides a specialized residential Gambling Treatment Program.
The Las Vegas VA Residential Recovery and Renewal Center (LVR3) is the only other VA residential gambling addiction recovery center in the nation.