UK military veterans more likely to have gambling problems, study finds

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A new study has sought to investigate the social and economic costs of gambling among British military veterans. The study, published by the British Medical Journal, found that veterans are almost 11 times more likely to have gambling problems than the general population.

British Medical Journal reveals new study results

A new study published earlier this week by the British medical journal suggests that military veterans face a higher risk of developing gambling problems compared to the general population. One of the main objectives of the research was to study the social and economic costs of gambling within a large group of British veterans. Prior to this study, the BMJ recognized that little was known about the costs of problem gambling among British military veterans.

Gambling is a growing public health problem with military veterans at increased risk of harm,

reads the British Armed Forces Veterans Health and Gambling Study

The British Armed Forces Veterans Health and Gambling Study found that over 40% of veterans have gambling problems. Additionally, the newspaper said that veterans are almost 11 times more likely to have gambling problems. In total, the study collected 5,147 responses. Of that total, 2,535 were responses from veterans, while 2,612 were recorded responses from non-veterans. The researchers then applied quality control measures to reduce responses to 2,185, which represents 1037 responses from veterans and 1,148 responses from non-veterans.

Veterans in the UK: more likely to have gambling problems

Focusing on gambling, the study found that 43.1% of Veterans have experienced problem gambling. Comparing this to the general population, we find that only 6.5% have gambling problems. In other words, veterans are 10.88 times more likely to have gambling problems than the general population.

If we look at problem-free gambling, we find that 67% of non-veterans have experienced this type of gambling. This value is reduced by almost half for veterans, given that only 37.7% of them experienced problem-free gambling.

Some 8.4% of military veterans experience gambling at low risk. In contrast, 15.3% of non-veterans experience low-risk gambling. When it comes to experiencing moderate risk gambling, the non-veterans lead with 11.2%. From the Veterans Focus Group, we find that 10.8% have experienced moderate risk gambling.

Other key findings from the white paper highlight that veterans had higher health care, as well as social services and societal costs. In addition, the veterans had more contact with criminal justice services, received more benefits but lost more working hours compared to the general population. The study also found that gambling increased these costs. Last but not least, the new report found that veterans with gambling problems “cost more” but do not suffer from “decreased quality of life”.