Temptation to Gamble Is Near for Troops Overseas


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Jun 30, 1998
Temptation to Gamble Is Near for Troops Overseas

NY Times

Published: October 19, 2005

When Carrie Beth Walsh and her two toddlers landed at the airport in Seoul, South Korea, last year, there was no sign of her husband, an Army pilot who had been transferred there six weeks earlier.

He eventually showed up in a taxi, broke and unprepared for his family's arrival - no rental car for the drive to his base, no apartment, no credit cards in his wallet that were not already up against his loan limits. "He was making more than $60,000 a year," Ms. Walsh said. "But we were always broke."

She soon learned why. Her husband, Warrant Officer Aaron W. Walsh, had pumped more than $20,000 into the Army's own slot machines on bases in South Korea. Last month, his marriage and career shattered, Mr. Walsh, who is 33, resigned from the Army to avoid a court-martial on desertion charges stemming from his gambling habit.

Military gambling is a big business. About $2 billion flows through military-owned slot machines at officers' clubs, activities centers and bowling alleys on overseas bases each year. Most flows back out as jackpots, but 6 percent remains with the house, about the same ratio as in Las Vegas.

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Very sad. At the very least, there should be some sort of control, such as a slots area supervisor, who would notice that a person was spending too much time there.

Slots should be entertainment, and not an addiction. The military really needs to shape up and either control or rid themselves of these machines.
It was a strange experience for me as well when I was stationed in Korea. I was caught off guard at the sight of slot machines in the Bar, bowling alley and even a slot parlor beside the PX.

The Military does run very funny spots on the AFN (Armed forces network) but the temptation is too great for many MANY troops that are separated from their family for a year +.

I personally witnessed several soldiers in my unit that spiraled out of control. Get paid on a Friday, and be broke by Sunday evening, trying to borrow $5.00 for a haircut.

I don't think the Military owns the machines. If memory serves the PX owns them, and AAFES is obligated to return 100% of their profit to the military community it serves.
It's like putting a slot machine in a college dorm. What are they thinking? Most of these kids are getting paychecks for the first time in their lives.

Back in my day, there were no slot machines on post (at least I don't remember seeing any). But we had a strip joint right accross the street from the barracks and we were allowed "two beers" for lunch. (Ft. Bragg)
HA HA!!!! "2 beers for lunch"..... Ahhhh the 82nd Airborne. Is their motto still "The most Physically Fit alcoholic unit in the Army" LOL.

The slot machine thing should be rethinked IMHO. There are much better ways to promote recreation and generate income for the various on base programs for Morale.

Just so all the civilians are aware, the slot machines are ONLY in over seas locations. And in Korea at least, the biggest problem was keeping the Koreans off the base and away from the slot rooms. They would get bitten by the slot bug alot harder then any Troop I ever saw.
m249a said:
HA HA!!!! "2 beers for lunch"..... Ahhhh the 82nd Airborne. Is their motto still "The most Physically Fit alcoholic unit in the Army" LOL.
We were called the "jumpin' junkies" :D

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