Casino Watch Focus has reported on various legislative attempts to regulate the gambling exposure of active duty military members. Gambling addiction affects all, but active duty military can find themselves in a unique situation. Many find themselves overseas with few entertainment options and in some cases, the military themselves operate gambling establishments. Such has been the focus of various Congressional legislative efforts to properly regulate and offer help to those caught in gambling’s web. The VA has decided to expand its efforts as well, as they have opened the second ever gambling treatment facility. The Military Times reports:
The Department of Veterans Affairs has opened its second in-patient gambling addiction recovery center, right in the heart of Sin City. VA officials announced this month that the Las Vegas VA Residential Recovery and Renewal Center, or LVR3, will host 30- and 45-day programs for gambling and substance abuse treatment.
The facility is the second of its kind in nearly 50 years at VA: the department’s first gambling addiction center – a trailblazing treatment facility that was the first of its kind in the country for addressing compulsive gambling – opened at the Brecksville, Ohio, VA Medical Center in 1972.
Now part of the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, it was the sole inpatient treatment center for gambling addiction, drawing more than 100 veterans annually from around the country for care.
The Las Vegas location was of particular interest considering the access veterans have in that city. The veteran population appears to be twice as likely to be negatively impacted by gambling addiction than the general civilian population. The Military Times continues:
“There is definitely a great need for this here in Las Vegas,” said LVR3 Program Manager Roxanne Untal in a release. “Gambling and substance abuse already exist here … the biggest goal is to provide residential care for veterans when more intensive care is needed than what they would receive in outpatient treatment.”
A study conducted in the VA’s New England region funded by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission found that among a small group of veterans, 260, a third had gambled in the previous year and 6 percent screened positive for a gambling disorder.
According to the study, those in the gambling disorder group also had histories of anxiety, depression or PTSD and some reported having suicidal thoughts.
The National Council on Problem Gambling estimates that roughly 1 percent of the adult U.S. population meets the clinical criteria for compulsive gambling and up to 3 percent would be considered problem gamblers.
The program won’t be limited to just veterans and all those in need in the Las Vegas area are encouraged to visit the facility. The Military Times concludes:
VA officials said veterans interested in the programs at LVR3 or Cleveland can talk to their primary care provider, either at VA or in the community care system.
“Even if you aren’t an enrolled veteran yet, if this is something you need to address, come on in. Any licensed provider can put in a consult, and we are doing quick turn-arounds for screening them for admission,” Untal said.
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