Bill Would Ban Most Gambling on Military Bases
Special Report - December 20, 2007
A bill introduced in the U.S. House last week would ban almost all gambling on U.S. military bases around the world. According to his website, Congressman Lincoln Davis (R-TN) introduced the bill after hearing about Aaron Walsh, a decorated Apache helicopter pilot who was discharged from the Army and eventually committed suicide because of a gambling addiction that began at a military base in Germany.
The bill, H.R. 4497, entitled “Warrant Officer Aaron Walsh Stop DOD-Sponsored Gambling Act,” would prohibit the use of gambling devices on property under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Defense, including “all facilities operated by the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, the Navy Exchange Service Command, the Navy Resale and Services Support Office, Marine Corps exchanges, and ships' stores.” The bill does include an exception for the sale of state-sponsored lottery tickets and for a limited number of charitable events involving gambling if the proceeds are donated to charity.
Congressman Davis noted that the Department of Defense has accrued “well over $100 million in net revenue” from slot machine winnings it takes from troops, and that it uses these funds to pay a small portion of its Morale, Welfare and Recreation program. “If American men and women are willing to serve our country overseas we should not be dependent upon them to pay for the recreational activities they deserve,” Davis stated on his website. “The risks are simply too high and too many to ask that of our soldiers.”
H.R. 4497 has been referred to the House Committee on Armed Services.
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