By Ray Stern
By Ray Stern
By New Times
By Amy Silverman
By Stephen Lemons
By Stephen Lemons
By Monica Alonzo
By Chris Parker
The Department of Defense has been studying gambling among active-duty service members at least as far back as 1992, when it added the activity to its "Survey of Health Related Behaviors Among Military Personnel" (SHRBAMP), a questionnaire distributed and tabulated every four to six years.
The 1992, 1998, and 2002 surveys suggested elevated rates of probable pathological gambling among active-duty servicemen.
The DoD took action: Gambling questions subsequently were omitted from the survey.
In 2001, prompted by Congress, the Pentagon produced a 13-page document titled "Report on the Effect of the Ready Availability of Slot Machines on Members of the Armed Forces, Their Dependents, and Others," which averred that slot machines had no negative effect on the morale or the financial stability of military personnel or their families. "Comparisons of the [SHRBAMP] survey data to the general public cannot readily be made," the authors added. (The Pentagon initially contracted with PricewaterhouseCoopers to conduct the study but terminated the contract after a few months, opting to use its own researchers.) The DoD has not released a slot-machine report since then.
In 2005, the New York Times published a front-page article about the military's gambling operation that described the downfall of Aaron Walsh, a decorated Apache helicopter pilot who became addicted to gambling while stationed in South Korea, where he lost more than $20,000 playing slots. After leaving the military, Walsh wound up homeless in Las Vegas. In 2006, he committed suicide.
Not long afterward, Democratic Congressman Lincoln Davis of Tennessee proposed the "Warrant Officer Aaron Walsh Stop DoD-Sponsored Gambling Act," calling for a ban on military slot machines. "We've got research to show that 30,000 of our troops may be pathological gamblers, and we ought to be ashamed that we're adding to that," Davis told Stars and Stripes in 2008. His bill died in committee.
Dreux Michael Perkins and Emily Gehrig buried their stillborn son, Dayne Michael Perkins, on Valentine's Day. Judge Reagan stayed Perkins' sentencing one week so he could be at Gehrig's bedside. On February 22, Perkins drove with his father to Talladega, Alabama, to begin serving his felony sentence. When he gets out of prison, he hopes to become a PTSD counselor, to prevent more cases like his.
What began as a diversion escalated to a routine, fueled by energy drinks and wagering limits that ballooned to $200 a round.
One vet put a staple gun to his head after running his finances into the ground — and kept up the losing streak by blowing the suicide attempt.
Perkins left the cigarettes where Alama could find them. Alama's brother wired Perkins $600 — enough to cover his mortgage.
"This is a subjective opinion on my part, but who's the biggest partner for gaming? Government."
The 1992, 1998, and 2002 surveys suggested elevated rates of pathological gambling among servicemen. Henceforth, gambling questions were omitted from the survey.