March Madness Will Cost Employers $2.1 Billion in 2017 [Gambling in the News]

March Madness will generate an estimated $2.1 billion loss for employers in 2017. In addition, experts say that nearly 24 million American workers will spend company time researching and choosing their tournament brackets this year.

The projections, made by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray, and Christmas, are higher than workplace losses in previous years. In 2015, the same analysis predicted losses of about $1.9 billion for employers.

These productivity losses are huge, but the fact is that problem gambling can have a significant, lasting impact on workplaces. Problem gambling is a condition in which a person can no longer control their betting behavior. It affects an estimated 4-6 million Americans from all genders, ages, and ethnicities. This diagnosable condition is associated with a range of activities, including sports betting (like March Madness), casino games, horse racing, online games, mobile apps, and lotteries.

Some addicted gamblers wager every day; others go on periodic binges. Yet no matter what form gambling addiction takes, it has the same emotional, financial, and even physical impact. When a worker struggles with the condition, it can also expose employers to the risk of gambling-related fraud.

Signs of Problem Gambling in the Workplace

  • Increasing tardiness or absenteeism
  • Decline in productivity
  • Asking for pay advances or for pay in lieu of vacation/sick time
  • Losing track of time over lunch or other allotted breaks
  • Borrowing money from coworkers
  • Receiving personal credit card statements or bills at work
  • Declining personal appearance or grooming habits
  • Preoccupation with gambling

Learn more in Problem Gambling: 4 Facts for Lancaster, Lebanon Businesses and Is Your Business at Risk for Gambling-Related Fraud? 6 Gotta-Ask Questions.

Find additional resources for gambling prevention, education, and treatment referrals in Lancaster, PA and Lebanon, PA by contacting Compass Mark at 717-299-2831.

 

 

Are You Ready to Prevent Gambling-Related Fraud in Your Biz?

An Oregon bookkeeper recently pleaded guilty to stealing more than $70,000 from her employers–money she then used to gamble.

The woman was sentenced to five years in prison, according to OregonLive. The theft started during her first month of employment and continued for about a year. She had prior theft convictions listed under a different last name.

How Can Employers Prevent Gambling-Related Fraud?

Gambling addiction is a condition with roots in biology. It can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or economic status. People who struggle with the disorder need professional treatment from counselors trained to work with this addiction.

Employers can take action to protect their businesses by enacting safeguards to prevent gambling-related fraud or at least catch it before it does significant damage. Here’s how to protect your bottom line:

Never give one employee sole charge of the company finances.

It can be easier to steal when an addicted gambler knows that no one is checking the books. Always use at least two people to handle company finances. If you can only afford to hire one person, conduct regular, unannounced internal audits to make sure the books are in order.

Divide check writing and check signing powers.

Another way to reduce gambling-related fraud risk is to assign one person the task of writing the checks and another the task of signing them. This checks-and-balance system may prevent fraud or catch it early.

Learn to recognize problem gambling warning signs.

If you see an employee exhibiting these warning signs, refer him or her to human resources or an employee assistance program (EAP):

  • Asking for payday advances;
  • Asking for pay in lieu of vacation time or sick days;
  • Frequently organizing office pools;
  • Unusual insistence on taking work home;
  • Increasing absences or tardiness;
  • Sudden lifestyle changes, such as buying pricey cars or taking expensive vacations;
  • Arguing with coworkers, friends, or family about money;
  • Borrowing money from coworkers.

For prevention resources in Lancaster or Lebanon, contact Compass Mark at 717-299-2831.

 

Gambling-Related Fraud a Small Business Problem, Too

A former Wall Street executive recently made national headlines after he was accused of committing a $40 million dollar fraud allegedly triggered by a gambling addiction. However, gambling-related embezzlement isn’t just a big business problem. Addiction to gambling, which is a diagnosable condition, impacts small and mid-sized businesses too. Here’s what Lancaster and Lebanon business owners and managers need to know:

Gambling-Related Theft Affects Businesses & Organizations of Every Size
Protect Your Business from Employees with Gambling Problems

Research suggests problem gambling is a motivating factor in about 33% of major fraud cases. Almost 85% of the gambling-related thefts involve a lone perpetrator. Some investigators now routinely examine suspected embezzlers’ gambling habits because casino debt is so common in this type of crime.

Here are quick tips to help protect your small or mid-sized business:

  • Implement financial safeguards.
    Internal checks and balances may help identify fraud before it creates a significant strain on the bottom line. For example, divvy up accounting tasks between two or more workers to avoid having one person in complete control of company finances. One fraud-prevention tactic is to assign one employee to print checks and another to sign them.
  • Train supervisors/managers to identify employees who may have problem gambling issues.
    You and your supervisors can learn to pinpoint the signs of potential gambling issues; check out 6 Gambling Addiction Red Flags You Need to Know. Also learn How to Talk to an Employee with a Gambling Problem so you can mitigate the situation before it becomes worse and so you can direct the employee toward evaluation and treatment.
Additional Gambling in the Workplace Prevention Tips and Resources

A Nonprofit’s Guide to Problem Gambling Fraud
Is Your Business at Risk for Gambling-Related Fraud? 6 Gotta-Ask Questions
Problem Gambling-4 Facts for Lancaster, Lebanon Businesses

For more addiction prevention and treatment resources, contact Compass Mark at 717-299-2831.

 

A Nonprofit’s Guide to Problem Gambling Fraud

Say “fraud” and minds often naturally jump to the business world. However, nonprofits can be affected by fraud as well. There are many reasons a leader, employee, or volunteer might defraud an organization, and one of those is problem gambling. Learn more in this guide to problem gambling fraud in nonprofits.

Nonprofit groups, like their business counterparts, are at risk for losing money to gambling-related crime. For example, a former NFL player was charged in February 2016 with using about $500,000 in donations made to his nonprofit groups to pay off debts. Prosecutors allege the former player used some of those funds to pay gambling debts and withdraw cash from casino ATMs. Additional allegations suggest the man may have applied for “bridge funding” to meet payroll obligations and then, when he received the money, used part of the funding to pay debt at a Las Vegas casino.

Signs an Employee or Volunteer Might be at Risk for Problem Gambling
  • Declining performance;
  • False claims on expense accounts;
  • Requesting pay in lieu of vacation time;
  • Asking for pay advances;
  • Organizing workplace gambling pools frequently;
  • Borrowing money from coworkers or colleagues;
  • Increasingly absent or tardy;
  • Playing gambling apps or visiting betting websites while on the job.
How to Prevent Gambling-Related Fraud in Your Nonprofit

Develop a formal no-gambling policy.
Define what is acceptable behavior regarding on-the-job gambling, and lay out a framework for consequences when those rules are violated. As part of a no gambling at work policy, you may want to consider installing blocking software that prohibits users from accessing betting websites through nonprofit-owned computers and devices.

Train executives, managers, and team leaders to ID potential problem gambling.
Educate everyone in your nonprofit with leadership responsibilities to identify the signs of gambling-related behavior. Ensure supervisors have a framework to refer a potentially addicted employee to HR or to provide referrals to evaluation and treatment resources.

Establish internal financial controls.
Simple tactics, like regularly auditing petty cash or requiring two signatures on each check, can help prevent gambling-related fraud or catch it at an early stage.

Find more relevant information in Employer’s Guide to Workplace Gambling- Do’s and Don’ts and Is Your Business at Risk for Gambling-Related Fraud? 6 Gotta-Ask Questions.

Compass Mark guides individuals, businesses, and health care professionals in Lancaster, PA and Lebanon, PA to addiction help resources. Call 717-299-2831 or use our simple Compulsive Gambling Help Form.

 

Problem Gambling: What Health Care Pros, Counselors Need to Know, Plus CEU Opportunity

What do you know about problem gambling? It wouldn’t be surprising if the answer was Not much. This serious and progressive condition often flies under the radar. March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month, which makes now the ideal time to learn more about this addiction and how it might affect your patients or clients. Get the basics below, and then discover more information at Compass Mark’s Start the Conversation: Fantasy Sports Gamble, on Wednesday, March 30, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. (This session, held at the Blair Room, 630 Janet Avenue, Lancaster, is worth 2 CEU credits.)

Problem gambling is a public health issue.

The condition itself, which is classified in the DSM-5 as a behavioral addiction, affects 6-9 million Americans–about 2-3% of the population. Problem gamblers are at higher risk for other conditions as well, including clinical depression and substance abuse. However, as with other addictions, the impact spreads far beyond the addicted person’s own life. Compulsive gambling behavior breaks up marriages, fractures relationships with children, and affects work productivity.

Problem Gambling Resources for Health Care & Counseling Professionals

Compass Mark Referral Team Info
Problem Gambling Treatment in Lancaster, Lebanon, and the Surrounding Area
Gambling in Primary Care Patients: Why Should We Care and What Can We Do About It?
Center for Gaming Research
National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG)

Learn more in the NCPG’s gambling infographic below.

Do Fantasy Sports Lead to Real-Life Consequences for You?

About 41 million people in the U.S. and Canada played fantasy sports in 2014, spending an average of nearly 9 hours each week on the activity, according to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.

Most people who participate in fantasy sports are able to play for fun—and it will never negatively impact their lives. However, for some, particularly those already at risk for problem gambling, it may provide one more avenue to unhealthy gambling behavior.

While it’s not technically considered gambling, there are gambling-type elements to fantasy sports. For example, numerous leagues offer cash payouts for wins and require entry fees to buy into play. (Fees alone for fantasy sports leagues will generate an estimated $18 billion by 2020.)

To find out if you or a loved one is at risk for developing gambling addiction, take the quiz on our home page. Contact Compass Mark through our online help form or call (717) 299-2831 for free, confidential problem gambling treatment referral in Lancaster, PA and Lebanon, PA.

Check out the industry infographic below for more statistics on the popularity of fantasy sports.

 

March Madness Costs U.S. Employers Nearly $2 Billion

American businesses are expected to lose $1.9 billion in productivity during the 2015 NCAA basketball tournament, according to estimates from outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Ouch! Whether employees are filling out brackets or the boss is watching games from his or her desk, there’s no question that some businesses are less productive during March Madness.

But Workplace Gambling is Much More Than a Productivity Problem.

For many workers, betting on the annual tournament is a diversion—a form of entertainment and a way to connect socially with others. While it lowers productivity and saps resources (like bandwidth), the distraction is usually temporary.

However, for some people, wagering on March Madness and other sporting events, such as the Super Bowl, can raise the risk for gambling addiction, a brain condition in which a person can’t control the urge to gamble. To learn more, visit March Madness- Potential Gateway to Problem Gambling?

Why is Problem Gambling a Problem for Employers?

Compulsive gambling can be as destructive as other addictions—and it can have a similar impact on the workplace. A person struggling with this addiction cannot control their urge to bet, and, as a result, he or she spends time obsessing over their next wager instead of handling workplace responsibilities. Problem gamblers may also have increased rates of absenteeism or tardiness. Additionally, they’re at higher risk for other conditions that affect workplace performance, including clinical depression and substance abuse.

Some people with gambling problems may also commit workplace crimes, like theft or fraud, to fund the addiction. A study of major U.S. fraud cases in 2013 discovered that gambling was a motivating factor in 24% of the crimes.

Do You Have a Workplace Gambling Policy?

Your company likely has policies in place to protect the business and its employees from substance abuse in the workplace. A gambling policy works in the same way, defining appropriate behavior while at work and developing a framework for dealing with violations and treatment referrals. Consult a human resources professional about creating a workplace gambling policy at your business.

If you’re an employer in Lancaster, PA or Lebanon, PA and would like to learn more about protecting your business from problem gambling, contact Compass Mark at 717-299-2831. We offer gambling addiction education and treatment resources.

Find more information by checking out:

 

PA Attorney Accused of Taking $500,000+ for Gambling, Personal Use [News]

$535,000. That’s how much Carlisle attorney Karl Rominger is alleged to have taken from clients for personal use and gambling. He was recently charged with 25 counts of theft and fund misappropriation after a divorce client reported the lawyer didn’t turn over funds received from the sale of the marital home. Investigators said the attorney used the money for personal use and to gamble at casinos, according to Penn Live.

The district attorney in the case said a forensic accountant is still reviewing financial records and more charges could be filed. Rominger allegedly misappropriated money from other clients as well, including a car accident victim who’d won a settlement and the survivors of a deceased client.

Rominger apologized for his actions, according to Penn Live, and he voluntarily surrendered his law license last spring.

Is Your Lancaster or Lebanon Business Safe from Gambling-Related Fraud?  

The 2013 Marquet Report on Embezzlement found that gambling was a significant motivating factor in 24% of major business fraud cases, and, study authors note, it was a contributing factor in additional cases.

However, it’s not just gambling-related fraud that hurts businesses. Gambling-addicted employees are less productive, which affects overall productivity as well as workplace morale.

Signs of Gambling Addiction in the Workplace

Substance abuse often produces physical red flags that sometimes make it easier to spot an employee with a problem. Compulsive gambling, however, isn’t always as easy to identify. Signs include:

  • Declining performance;
  • Increasing absenteeism or tardiness;
  • Asking for pay advances or borrowing money from co-workers;
  • Taking finance-related work home or working on it after-hours;
  • Filing false claims against an expense account;
  • Playing gambling apps or visiting casino websites while on the clock;
  • Showing mood swings related to winning and losing.
Employer Resources for Gambling in the Workplace

Problem Gambling–4 Facts for Lancaster, Lebanon Businesses

Is Your Business at Risk for Gambling-Related Fraud? 6 Gotta-Ask Questions

Compulsive Gambling Treatment Providers in Lancaster and Lebanon

Compass Mark helps Lancaster- and Lebanon-area employers and health care professionals find addiction education, prevention, and treatment resources. To learn how we’ll help you, call us at 717-299-2831. Our assistance is confidential.

 

Will Super Bowl Gambling Drain Your Biz’s Productivity? Tips to Protect Your Company

Are you ready for some football? It’s likely that—even if you’re not—at least some employees at your Lancaster- or Lebanon-area business are pumped for the big night. With the Super Bowl set for February 1st, you may find workers devoting more and more on-the-clock time to players, stats, and game pools over the next weeks.

Overall, American businesses lose an estimated $850 million in productivity every year during the week preceding the Super Bowl, according to estimates.

So how much money will your workplace lose this year?

If you don’t currently have a business gambling policy, now is a good time to consider one. Even if you can’t have it in place in time for the upcoming game, you can still protect future productivity by taking away the distraction of workplace gambling. What’s more, a gambling policy may also help safeguard your company from gambling addiction-related business fraud.

Tips for Keeping Gambling Out of the Workplace—And Away From Your Bottom Line
  • Create a policy that defines expected behavior. A gambling policy functions much like an alcohol/drug policy—it provides a framework for expected behavior in the workplace and establishes disciplinary options for violations. Explicitly lay out where and when gambling is prohibited. Consult an HR specialist or attorney for details on creating an effective workplace gambling policy.
  • Remember to outline expected behavior for the use of company equipment too. Within the policy, be specific about prohibiting employees from visiting gambling websites or playing gambling apps on business-owned tech, including computers, tablets, and smartphones.
  • Train managers and supervisors how to identify workers with potential compulsive gambling.While there may not be physical signs, as there are sometimes with substance abuse, there are other red flags that indicate gambling has become a problem in an employee’s life:
    • Increasing tardiness or absenteeism;
    • Declining workplace performance;
    • Exhibiting mood swings connected to gambling outcomes (joyful when winning, depressed after losses);
    • Minimizing computer tabs when a colleague or manager enters the room;
    • Asking for payday advances, or requesting pay in lieu of vacation or sick days;
    • Borrowing money from coworkers;
    • Initiating bets or sports pools frequently at the workplace.

Learn more about protecting your company from problem gambling:

Is Your Business At Risk for Gambling-Related Fraud? 6 Gotta-Ask Questions

Problem Gambling a Factor in 33% of Business Fraud [Statistics]

Keep Problem Gambling Out of the Workplace- Tips to Share with Employees

For information about compulsive gambling education or prevention resources in Lancaster County or Lebanon County, call the Compass Mark team at (717) 299-2831.

 

Gambling Addiction Resources, 2014 Round-Up

Yes, it’s one of those inevitable year-end round-up posts. But instead of rehashing the year’s worst celebrity flubs or top viral pet photos, we’re posting a few of the gambling addiction resources we’ve shared this year.

Gambling addiction is a serious disorder that doesn’t just affect the bank account. It impacts every part of the gambler’s life, and the consequences often extend to that person’s family, friends, and employer. Problem gambling has been connected to clinical depression, substance abuse, domestic violence, homelessness, and suicide. Whether you’re concerned about a loved one’s gambling or you’re trying to assist a potentially-addicted student, employee, patient, or client, check out these gambling information resources:

Biology & Risk Factors

Learn more about the factors that contribute to the behavior or increase the risk of developing the condition.

Problem Gambling Linked to Personality Disorders [Research]

Gambling Addiction May Run in Families [Study]

Problem Gambling Rate Among Veterans Nearly 9% [Research]

Compulsive Gambling Research Round-Up, Part 5

Compulsive Gambling Research Round-Up, Part 4

Addiction Treatment

Making unsuccessful solo attempts to quit is one warning sign of problem gambling. Professional treatment with a counselor specifically trained in gambling addiction provides the best chance for recovery.

4 Reasons to Get Problem Gambling Help

Problem Gambling Recovery is Possible- 5 Facts for Gamblers & Their Families

Want to Stop Gambling? 4 Tips for Resisting the Urge to Bet

Self-Help Groups for Problem Gamblers

Treatment Providers in Lancaster, PA & Lebanon, PA

Gambling Addiction Resources for Businesses

Problem gambling can lurk under the radar at businesses. These articles will help you protect your company and its employees.

Employer’s Guide to Workplace Gambling- Do’s and Don’ts

PA Woman Addicted to Gambling Embezzles $250,000 From Customers- Tips for Employers

Problem Gambling- 4 Facts for Lancaster, Lebanon Employers

Get Help for Gambling Addiction

Compass Mark is dedicated to helping individuals, families, educators, employers, and health care professionals in Lancaster and Lebanon find addiction help resources. For confidential, judgment-free guidance, fill out our help form or call our team at (717) 299-2831.