Bishop of St Albans asks about gambling machines on UK Army bases

On 14th October 2020 the Bishop of St Albans received a written answer to a question on gambling machines in British Army installations:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether there are gambling machines in any British Army installations in the UK; and if so, (1) which categories these machines fall into in accordance with the Gambling Act 2005, and (2) whether these machines are operated by the Ministry of Defence or external contractors. [HL8770]

Baroness Goldie: The requested information on whether there are any gambling machines on any British Army sites in the UK, which categories they fall into, and who operates them is not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Gambling as an addiction has serious implications for Defence; as a security risk, financially, a mental health issue and as a wider welfare impact on Service personnel; families; veterans and their families. Gambling addiction is difficult to target and deal with effectively as most activity is carried out when Service personnel are off duty or at home. However, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) is working to raise financial awareness among Service personnel; all three Services provide links on their welfare sites to several financial advisory sites including MoneyForce, Joining Forces Credit Union, the Services Insurance and Investment Advisory Panel and GamCare, a national charity and leading provider of information, advice and free counselling for the prevention and treatment of problem gambling.

Every unit has a comprehensive welfare system, which is widely publicised. The network includes the Unit Welfare Officer, Chaplain, medical staff and Equality and Diversity Adviser. Personnel also have access to the secondary welfare support through the Army Welfare Service, plus the Army confidential helpline – SpeakOut – and the Samaritans helpline. Where welfare staff or the regimental medical group become aware of personnel displaying signs of gambling addiction, they will endeavour to provide the necessary welfare support and sign-post to specialist organisations such as the NHS Gambling Support.