US Military runs offshore casinos !
19 October 2005
The following is an extract from this article:
Temptation to Gamble Is Near for Troops Overseas
By DIANA B. HENRIQUES
Published: October 19, 2005
When Carrie Beth Walsh and her two toddlers landed at the airport in Seoul, South Korea, last year, there was no sign of her husband, an Army pilot who had been transferred there six weeks earlier.
He eventually showed up in a taxi, broke and unprepared for his family’s arrival – no rental car for the drive to his base, no apartment, no credit cards in his wallet that were not already up against his loan limits. “He was making more than $60,000 a year,” Ms. Walsh said. “But we were always broke.”
Slot machines, which attract $2 billion in betting at bases overseas, are a feature of the enlisted club at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
Aaron W. Walsh with his former wife, Carrie Beth, and their children in September 2003; Mr. Walsh, discharged, has been living in Las Vegas.
She soon learned why. Her husband, Warrant Officer Aaron W. Walsh, had pumped more than $20,000 into the Army’s own slot machines on bases in South Korea. Last month, his marriage and career shattered, Mr. Walsh, who is 33, resigned from the Army to avoid a court-martial on desertion charges stemming from his gambling habit.
Military gambling is a big business. About $2 billion flows through military-owned slot machines at officers’ clubs, activities centers and bowling alleys on overseas bases each year. Most flows back out as jackpots, but 6 percent remains with the house, about the same ratio as in Las Vegas.
Each year, the armed forces take in more than $120 million from on-base slot machines and $7 million from Army bingo games at home. These funds help pay for recreational programs for the troops.
But even military researchers have acknowledged that the armed forces are heavily populated by people who, like Aaron Walsh, may be especially vulnerable to gambling addiction: athletic, risk-taking young people who are experiencing severe stress and anxiety.
“And wartime is an environment that is probably creating more vulnerability than usual,” said Christine Reilly, executive director of the gambling addiction research institute at Cambridge Health Alliance, a teaching institution for the Harvard Medical School.
More than four years ago, Congress ordered the Pentagon to study how on-base slot machines were affecting military families. The Pentagon initially hired PricewaterhouseCoopers to do the study, but it ended the contract after a few months and completed the study itself.
The final report provided no new data about the rate of problem gambling. But it did caution Congress that the military could not maintain many popular programs, like golf courses and family activity centers, “without slot machine revenue or a significant new source of cash.”
One consultant who worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers was Rachel Volberg, a medical sociologist who runs Gemini Resources, which measures gambling rates around the world. “We met a great deal of defensiveness, both in Washington and on base,” she said. “Everyone was very concerned that those revenues might go away.”
She added: “Only the chaplains took this really seriously. They told us that one out of three people who come to them for counseling have a problem with gambling, but can’t tell anyone because they will be dishonorably discharged.”
Slot machines are “a very profitable operation,” said Peter Isaacs, the chief operating officer of the Army’s Community and Family Support Center, which runs the largest slot machine program. “But we do not operate them strictly to extract profit. Our soldiers have told us they want access to the same games and gambling opportunities available to the civilians they are defending.”
The military is “very passive in our advertising, and we have low maximum jackpots,” Mr. Isaacs continued. “We don’t want to encourage people to blow the rent money chasing a $1 million payout.” He added, “The vast majority of the troops use the machines responsibly.”
Despite research showing that service members are at least as vulnerable to compulsive gambling as civilians – even more vulnerable, some research suggests – the military spends little of its Congressional funding, and none of its gambling profits, on treatment for those whose gambling gets out of control.
The PricewaterhouseCoopers report to the Pentagon noted “a general lack of accessible treatment for gambling addiction,” but that warning was not included in the Pentagon’s final report to Congress.
It was echoed, however, in a little-noticed research paper written by a team of Navy and Marine Corps medical personnel last year, describing a gambling addiction program they started in Okinawa in January 2003.
Read the remaining 2 pages of this article here:
05 February 2010Maryland Enters Into Gaming Tables War of States
Maryland lawmakers, caught in the middle of the war for gaming tables between Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey, has entered into the fray itself. Yesterday, Maryland legislator Frank Turner proposed a bill which would authorize the games of blackjack and baccarat, among others.The legislation is to change the Maryland constitution to allow table gambling, including poker. If the bill passes, it will be placed on the November ballot in November for the voters to decide the issue.Read full article
21 October 2009More and More States are Betting on Gambling to Boost Economy
With more states are opening up to the idea of gambling as a way to help with the economy. With the taxes that are brought in from land based Casinos and online could help raise the economy back to where it should be. LAS VEGAS, Nevada — Gaming has found a surprising benefit from the nation’s continuing economic recession.Read full article
21 July 2006W.T.O. PANEL WILL INVESTIGATE U.S. LIMITS ON ONLINE GAMBLING
The New York Times By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: July 20, 2006 GENEVA, July 19 (AP) — The World Trade Organization set up a panel on Wednesday to investigate whether United States restrictions on Internet gambling comply with international trade rules. The Caribbean country of Antigua and Barbuda asked the W.T.O.Read full article