Gambling at work : Myth, legend or just another problem

Gambling at work : Myth, legend or just another problem

If you make a quick google research and find the best online casinos, it is quite a simplistic task. And with gambling’s future being online, it is quite easy to play online anywhere you want. The truth is, if we look at the UK, there are thousands of people who truly have a gambling problem.  Just to put you in the picture in 2017, the United Kingdom gambling commission has highlighted that more than 430,000 people in the United Kingdom are facing serious gambling problems, and another 2 million players are deemed as high risk of developing a gambling problem.

Some addictions spiral out of control so much that players take their addiction with them to work. When an addiction takes over especially in gambling, we start calling these pathological gamblers, that have zero control over their actions and also where to feed their addiction.

If you think that gambling at the workplace is just an employee sneaking in some extra time at their favourite online casino, thin again. At the office gambling also includes office pools and some state that this is unethical and has no place at the office setting.

Office Pools ...fun or harm?

World Cup Approaching or maybe the Grand National?  This is where some office colleagues place a bet or two at the office setting and the winner takes it all.  This is not an illegal activity to host, on the contrary, many find this a way for people to get together and connect in the workplace. 

When the stakes and the prize is high….will there still be harmony at the office?  Definitely not ...and what if employees have a fallout with regards to the office pool.

Let’s talk legal

Whilst an office pool is not against the law, this could still carry a great amount of legal risks.  For starters, you could have someone participating in the pool that is not of legal age to gamble as yet, and that could be an issue, with the workplace ending up in some serious trouble.

Apart from this, if the event is not supported by the company, why should the company burden the loss of employee productivity? If we look back in history, recent days to be fair as this only occurred in 2020, where an employee was arrested for taking a sizable 10% of the office pool.  Office pools made lega headlines when an employee sued a company, starting the office funded and approved pool has caused the employee to dive back into a previous gambling addiction.

What does this cost businesses?

One of the prime sufferers to gambling is the gamblers himself, But  gambling has always  proven to affect the immediate family of the said problem gambler.  Most people spend a chunk of their lives, 40 hrs per week at work, with colleagues and getting paid for agreed services.  If a player has a gambling problem, this will throw shockwaves even at the workplace of any individual facing gambling issues.

Just to put you in the picture, a survey was conducted amongst people in 2017, whereby the individuals were asked what are their biggest 2 worries in life. The answer: gambling and debt. This is what people think and worry about the most. And, this worry does translate into lack of productivity, determination and even motivation, especially at the workplace.  Other risks could include higher sickness rates, mental health issues and even stealing from the company, with the company’s name receiving an outpour of bad press.

How can companies protect themselves and employees from problematic gambling addictions?

The word gambling could resonate different emotions in people.  Some state they will never gamble, others just cringe to the thought of spending money on gaming. Just know that if either yourself, or you maybe know anyone who might be facing a gambling addiction, help is always available.

Responsible Gaming is a big time nowadays, and if online casinos and sports sites do not promote such practises, they could lose their betting licenses. This is how gambling addictions ate battled. Other entities such as Gamestop is a free service that players can use if they would like to self exclude and get their gambling tackled.

If the issue of gambling is affecting the workplace, there are other entities that can offer tier support and help. The National Gambling Helpline and also GamCare work hand in hand with HR staff and managers to help them identify gambling patterns, traits and gamblers at the office.

In a day and age where we need to take calculated risks in life, there is no risk to take when it comes to gambling.  An addiction could cost lives, families to break up and business to head to bankruptcy.  When gambling is not fun anymore, it is definitely not worth your time.

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