Gambling Allowed on U.S. Military Bases
May 23, 2002
Gambling operations are the major source of funds for some operations of the U.S. military, says U.S. News & World Report.
- Since 1981, the Department of Defense has been raking in a tidy sum from more than 7,000 slot and video poker machines on 94 U.S. military installations overseas.
- In 2000, for example, the betting devices raised $125 million -- earmarked to pay for various morale boosters like family picnics and the construction of military base clubs, bowling alleys and golf courses.
- Service members, their dependents and civilian employees spend more than $1 billion annually gambling on base.
- Two Pentagon studies found that 2 percent -- or an estimated 30,000 service men and women -- "possessed the indicators of probable pathological gambling."
Pentagon officials contend that the revenues are essential and gambling is a harmless source of funding. But experts on gambling addiction argue that gambling often fosters a dependency that results in criminal behavior. However, the military's only gambling treatment program is at Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Source: Mark Mazzetti, "Military Casinos: Uncle Sam's One-Armed Bandits," U.S. News & World Report, May 20, 2002.
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