Department awarded funds to better understand levels of gambling in ex-Service personnel

Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) has awarded Swansea University £279,503 to undertake the first ever UK survey to understand and explore the levels of gambling participation and attitudes to gambling in ex-Service personnel.

International evidence reveals a hidden gambling problem among ex-Service personnel but there is a lack of relevant data as to the nature and extent of gambling problems in UK Armed Forces Service-leavers.

This two-and-a-half-year study aims to identify how ex-Service personnel may be more vulnerable to developing issues with gambling than the wider population, and estimate any resultant healthcare costs by exploring the relationship between financial management and mental health problems.

Participants in the project will complete self-report questionnaires addressing their personal demographics, financial problems, social and mental health problems, and gambling attitudes and behaviour.

For those who complete the survey online there will be additional questions posed covering whether they have gambled using technology and where the gambling took place. Further questions will be put forward surrounding registration with online betting companies.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, said: “The public perception of ex-Service personnel can be quite negative, and includes a tendency towards excessive gambling and other addictive behaviours. This ground-breaking study by Swansea University will provide credible evidence of the actual levels and nature of gambling among ex-Service personnel; it will present an understanding of whether they are more prone to excessive gambling than the rest of the population, and if so, will identify what type of support is required to those in need of it.”

Professor Simon Dymond, Swansea University, said: “We are delighted that FiMT has chosen to fund this important work. The public health challenges posed by problem gambling are growing, and we hope that this research, whatever the findings, will help start a conversation about the need to potentially assess and understand problem gambling in former members of the UK Armed Forces in greater detail.”

The study will be conducted in collaboration with researchers at Anglia Ruskin University, Bangor University, Veterans’ NHS Wales, University of Ulster, EPIC Risk Management, and the Swansea Centre for Health Economics