Military veterans are almost 11 times more likely to become problem gamblers than other people.
A survey of 2,185 people found that 43 percent of British armed forces veterans have had gambling problems, such as risking more money than they can afford to lose.
Compared to non-veterans, veterans had more than £500 higher debt on average.
The study authors conclude that people who have served their country in the military should be monitored for signs of problem gambling.
The Daily Mail has campaigned against predatory gambling companies and has highlighted dozens of traffic cases of gambling-related suicide.
Veterans of the British Armed Forces are almost 11 times more likely to be problem gamblers than the general population, according to a study by researchers at the University of Swansea.
Professor Simon Dymond, lead author of the report from the University of Swansea, said the importance of the latest findings is ‘undeniable’, adding: ‘This is the first study to assess the social and economic impact of gambling among former employees. research in the UK. , and our findings are consistent with the international body of work finding that veterans are at greater risk for gambling harm.
“We need to be routinely screened for gambling problems in the British Armed Forces to reduce the stigma associated with seeking help and ensure that those who need confidential help and support get it.”
The study, published in the journal BMJ Military Health, looked at 1,037 military veterans and compared them to 1,148 non-military people of the same sex and age.
They found that veterans were 10.88 times more likely to experience gambling problems.
Only 6.5 percent of the non-veterans had gambled unhealthy.
A report from the now-disbanded Public Health England last month revealed that gambling cost the economy nearly £1.3 billion in 2019/20 alone. The huge costs include the debt burden of problem gamblers and the effect on relationships and family breakup, according to the report
Veterans generally had more contact with gambling, alcohol and substance abuse services, and had more hospitalizations and emergency room visits.
Justyn Rees Larcombe, a co-author of the report, who lost £750,000 in three years after becoming addicted to online gambling after a successful career in the military, said: ‘The study has clearly identified a problem, so we now need to reasons veterans experience gambling problems, and support those who suffer the consequences.
“I became addicted to the thrill of online gambling and it almost destroyed my life.
“I don’t want others to suffer as much as I do.”
The survey asked people about gambling activities in the past year, including online gambling, sports betting, casino games and slot machines.
When people said they had gambled, they filled out another questionnaire about the magnitude of the problem, asking, for example, whether people had wagered more than they could afford to lose.
About two-thirds of the non-veterans had gambled without any problems, compared with less than 38 percent of the veterans.
Most of the veterans in the study were men, about one-third were between the ages of 30 and 39, and more than two-thirds were employed, and nearly half were married.
Veterans had an average of £1,375 in debt, compared to an average of £806 in non-veterans.
The veterans had more contact with the police and were sick from work nearly twice as much in the past year – 32.7 hours on average – compared to civilians.
Gambling has been linked to job losses, broken relationships and crime, and estimates suggest it costs the UK up to £1.6 billion annually.
While about 10 percent of British military veterans run into financial difficulties after they leave the armed forces, routine mental health assessments after their deployment do not currently include gambling.
How gambling epidemics cost our economy £1.2 billion a year
The terrible toll of gambling on the economy and society was revealed in a major report today.
The landmark study by the now-disbanded Public Health England (PHE), published last month, estimates the cost to the economy at £1.3 billion in 2019/20 alone.
The huge costs include the debt burden of problem gamblers and the effect on relationships and family breakup.
It covers the negative impact of gambling on jobs and business efficiency, as well as health damage that drives up costs for the NHS. And it includes charges to the police from gambling-related crime.
According to the report, gambling cost England £961 million in terms of mental and physical health last year. Suicide turned out to be the biggest expense.
PHE classified this as an “intangible” cost of gambling, meaning they were trying to estimate the value of human life to our society. This works out to about £1.5 million per lifetime.
Heavy drinkers, men, people with mental health problems and those living in the north of England were also identified as at greater risk of becoming problem gamblers.
PHE concluded that there was a clear link between gambling and mental health problems such as depression, suicidal ideation and alcohol dependence.