Social and Economic Costs of Gambling Problems and Related Harm among UK Military Veterans

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  • Shaun Harris
    Swansea University
  • Rhys Pockett
    Swansea University
  • Glen Dighton
    Swansea University
  • Katie Wood
    Swansea University
  • Cherie Armour
    Queen's University, Belfast
  • Matt Fossey
    Anglia Ruskin University
  • Lee Hogan
  • Neil Kitchiner
    Cardiff and Vale University Health Board
  • Justyn Larcombe
    The Recovery Course, Tonbridge Baptist Church
  • Robert Rogers
  • Simon Dymond
    Swansea University
Introduction: Military veterans are at heightened risk of problem gambling. Little is known about the costs of problem gambling and related harm among United Kingdom (UK) Armed Forces (AF) veterans. We investigated the social and economic costs of gambling among a large sample of veterans through differences in healthcare and social service resource use compared with age-matched and gender-matched non-veterans from the UK AF Veterans’ Health and Gambling Study. Methods: An online survey measured sociodemographic characteristics, gambling experience and problem severity, mental health and healthcare resource utilisation. Healthcare provider, personal social service and societal costs were estimated as total adjusted mean costs and utility, with cost-consequence analysis of a single timepoint. Results: Veterans in our sample had higher healthcare, social service and societal costs and lower utility. Veterans had greater contacts with the criminal justice system, received more social service benefits, had more lost work hours and greater accrued debt. A cost difference of £590 (95% CI −£1016 to −£163) was evident between veterans with scores indicating problem gambling and those reporting no problems. Costs varied by problem gambling status. Conclusions: Our sample of UK AF veterans has higher healthcare, social service and societal costs than non-veterans. Veterans experiencing problem gambling are more costly but have no reduction in quality of life.


  • adult psychiatry, health economics, mental health, public health
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-418
JournalBMJ Military Health
Issue number5
Early online date18 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sept 2023

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