Kindbridge Research Institute to form Military Gambling Awareness Committee

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Kindbridge Research Institute to form Military Gambling Awareness Committee

The Kindbridge Research Institute has announced the creation of the Military Gambling Awareness Committee (MGAC), a new initiative focused on combating gambling-related harms within the military community.

According to a press release, the MGAC’s mission is to improve the welfare and operational readiness of service members by integrating awareness and proactive measures against gambling-related harms into daily military life. The committee will work closely with the military and the Department of Defense to identify policy gaps and provide recommendations for improvements.

Using a data-driven approach, the MGAC aims to enhance the Department of Defense’s strategy towards gambling by promoting a holistic public health perspective within the military.

Dr. Nathan D. Smith, executive director of Kindbridge Research Institute said:

The establishment of the Military Gambling Awareness Committee marks a pivotal step in Kindbridge Research Institute’s mission to support the mental health and well-being of our service members. By bringing together a diverse group of experts, we aim to identify and address the gaps in current policies and provide comprehensive solutions that will enhance the overall health and readiness of our military personnel.

The MGAC will be chaired by Mark Lucia, a senior military research associate at Kindbridge Research Institute, whose personal experiences with the mental health challenges faced by military personnel led him to a career in military mental health research.

Lucia will be advised by leaders including:

  • Brianne Doura-Schawohl, founder and CEO of Doura-Schawohl Consulting LLC, with experience as VP of US policy and strategic development for EPIC Risk Management and legislative director for the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG)
  • Richard Taylor, senior manager of responsible gambling at BetMGM and former U.S. Marine Corp
  • Joe Solosky, managing director of sports betting at NASCAR and U.S. Naval Academy graduate
  • Joseph Martin, CEO of Kinectify, former Marine Corp, and ex-member of the U.S. Department of State
  • Caroline Ponseti, communications strategist at Invariant, former media relations lead for the American Gaming Association and ex-press secretary for the U.S. House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
  • David Yeager, an 11-year U.S. Army veteran and gambling addiction recovery advocate who works as an intake specialist and gambling recovery coach at Kindbridge Behavioral Health

The NCPG estimates that around 56,000 service members meet the criteria for gambling disorder and suggests that veterans are two to three times more likely to develop a gambling problem than civilians.

Mark Lucia, a senior military research associate at Kindbridge Research Institute said:

Our military community faces unique challenges, and gambling-related harms can significantly impact the well-being and readiness of our service members. The Military Gambling Awareness Committee is committed to creating a proactive, informed environment where we can address these issues head-on, fostering a culture of awareness and support within the military.

Kindbridge emphasizes that the MGAC is dedicated to aligning its efforts to support the Department of Defense in effectively addressing gambling-related challenges.

With extensive connections across political, media, health, data, educational, operational, state, and athletic domains, the committee will focus on enhancing awareness, educating stakeholders, and promoting best practices. This approach supports mental health initiatives, reduces stigma, and advocates for meaningful policy changes to boost military readiness and cohesion.