Gambling Addiction and the Bottom Line – What Employers Need to Know

With March Madness in full swing, many employees have gambling on their minds, whether they’re wagering with friends or participating in workplace brackets. This makes March the perfect time of year for Lancaster and Lebanon employers to learn about problem gambling and how it affects the bottom line.

What is gambling addiction?

It’s an impulse control disorder in which a person cannot control the urge to gamble. The excessive behavior negatively impacts all areas of life, from financial stability to emotional well-being. Problem gambling can affect anyone, regardless of gender, race, age, social status, or financial resources.

How much does compulsive gambling cost employers?

In the workplace, the cost of the addiction is often measured in lost time and reduced productivity.  Instead of focusing on job responsibilities, a gambler may become glued to an online gambling site or spend time worrying about how they’ll pay for groceries after a weekend gambling binge.

For some businesses, the cost comes in the form of fraud or embezzlement. Consider these gambling addiction headlines:

  • $66,000: In a local case, a New Cumberland couple admitted they stole more than $66,000 from the woman’s employer to feed their gambling problem.  Together they wrote fraudulent business checks and used company gift cards.
  • $1 million: A construction company bookkeeper pleaded guilty to fraud after stealing nearly $1 million from her employer to fund a gambling addiction. She took the money over an 8-year period, and court records show that at one casino she gambled away about $750,000.
  • $1.3 million: This year, a woman received a 41-month sentence for defrauding her employer of about $1.3 million. Among other things, she used company money to play on Internet gambling sites.
  • $6 million+: A former bank president recently pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $6 million from the bank where she’d been employed for 27 years. Her attorney reported that much of the money she stole was lost gambling at casinos.

Those are big numbers. In fact, they can seem so big that it might be easy for an employer to say “But that could never happen here.” But, it’s safe to say, that the people who employed the compulsive gamblers above likely would have thought the same. Think about this for a moment…

What would it mean to your business to lose $500 or $5,000 or $50,000 to gambling-related fraud?

Protect your business by checking out these resources:

Problem Gambling and the Workplace (PDF)

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

How to Talk to an Employee with a Gambling Problem

How to Reduce March Madness Gambling in the Workplace

Compass Mark provides gambling addiction resources for employers in Lancaster, PA and Lebanon, PA. Learn more about this addiction or find help for an employee with a gambling problem by calling us at (717) 299-2831.

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