Security Clearance Denial

Gambling Disorder Sinks Applicant’s Chances of Security Clearance

According to psychologists, a gambling disorder involves repeated, problem gambling behavior. The behavior leads to problems for the individual, families, and society. People with a gambling disorder have trouble controlling their gambling and will continue even when it causes significant problems with relationships and finances. A recent Department of Energy Office of Hearing and Appeals case involved a classic example of how an addiction to gambling causes negative effects on one’s life. Here are the highlights of the case:

This clearance applicant started gambling weekly in the 1990s and his heavy losses strained his marriage and caused financial hardship. In 2003 he voluntarily requested to be put on his state’s Prohibited Gambler List. He was cited for trespassing when he was spotted in the casino after being blacklisted. Fast forward to 2012, the applicant had his name removed from the list and resumed gambling again. As a result of losing money, he had to borrow from his parents to pay the bills. This also led to his inability to file or pay state and federal taxes and he fell behind on child support payments. During his interview with the background investigator, the applicant estimated he had probably lost around 60k while gambling over the years. He was diagnosed by a DOE psychologist as suffering from a permanent gambling disorder and it was recommended, he cease all gambling and get counseling.

The appeals judge determined that the applicant is still in denial about having a gambling disorder and has not taken steps to get it under control. The judge also determined the applicant’s lengthy history of avoiding responsibility for his financial obligations and compounding his financial difficulties through gambling was not mitigated due to still owing on taxes and other delinquent debts. Under Guidelines F (Financial Considerations) and I (Psychological Conditions) the judge denied his appeal. You can read the entire case here.