Congress could consider a slot machine ban on military bases

June 7, 2024
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The proposal was added to a must-pass defensive bill.

Along with a must-pass defense bill, a proposal to implement a slot machine ban on military bases is up for consideration, according to a recent Military.com report.

The ban proposal was filed as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Representative Paul Tonko authored the amendment.

Slot machines have been prohibited on US military bases for more than 70 years. The games were first banned in 1951. Both the Army and the Air Force began removing slots from bases overseas during the 1970s.

Nearly 10 years later, slots began making a comeback on bases outside the US for the purpose of 'keeping service members from getting into trouble off base.'

During the last seven years, the market has grown significantly, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office. The US military currently operates more than 3,000 slot machines in 12 countries on bases overseas, including those in Japan, South Korea and Germany.

Tonko explained to Military.com the motivation behind drafting the current proposal to ban slots going forward.

He commented, "I've been leading the charge in Congress to address the rise in problem gambling and I'm hopeful my NDAA provision would lessen the risk of our service members developing a gambling addiction.

"Our brave servicemen and women sacrifice everything to protect our nation and its freedoms. We must do all we can to support them by confronting problem gambling head on and ensuring this known addictive product is treated with the seriousness and precaution that we do with other addictions."

However, the Pentagon has pointed out that slots contribute funding for other recreational activities, the local report said.

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