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.

 

Man Attributes $40 Million Fraud to Gambling [News, Help Resources]

A New York man is alleged to have stolen $40 million from family, friends, and a hedge fund foundation. His lawyers say the man’s actions were driven by a gambling addiction.

Federal prosecutors say Andrew Caspersen, a former Wall Street executive described as “well respected,” ran a Ponzi-type scheme, according to The New York Times. He’s accused of using five fake investment vehicles to fleece investors of money. Caspersen’s victims reportedly include his own family members, who invested more than $3 million with him. He’s alleged to have used the money to trade aggressive options on the stock market, sometimes betting all of his available cash in a single week.

In the article, the man’s attorney said the addiction began with casino and sports betting but later turned into betting on the stock market.  The lawyer said, “He had every intention of paying everyone back. This is a pathological gambling addiction.”

Gambling Addiction Can Develop in Anyone

Compulsive gambling—like other addictions—does not discriminate. It doesn’t care if you’re a grandmother or a Wall Street executive. It doesn’t care about age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, or socio-economic status. It doesn’t care if the gambler is “well respected.”

How to Know if You or Someone You Care About is Addicted to Gambling

Signs of gambling addiction include:

  • Increasing preoccupation with gambling;
  • Lying or acting evasively when questioned about the behavior;
  • Using money earmarked for specific things (retirement, education, etc.) to gamble;
  • Promising to pay back borrowed money but doesn’t;
  • Missing work or calling in late because of gambling;
  • Increasing use of alcohol or other substances;
  • Increasing calls from debt collectors;
  • Inability or unwillingness to account for paychecks or other income sources.

Take the quiz on our website to learn whether you or a loved one, friend, or employee is at risk for developing this addiction.

Problem Gambling is Treatable

People who struggle with gambling problems can find a path to recovery. Counselors trained to work specifically with this addiction have the tools and resources to create a treatment plan. But the process starts with that first important step: asking for help.

Compass Mark offers guidance to people who want to break free from gambling addiction. Whether you’re concerned about your own behavior or worried about someone you know, we’ll point you to help in Lancaster, PA and Lebanon, PA. Contact our team for non-judgmental guidance at 717-299-2831 or use the Gambling Problems Help Form.

Learn more in:

Problem Gambling- 4 Facts for Lancaster, Lebanon Businesses
Is a Loved One Addicted to Gambling? 5 Tips for Family, Friends
Teens: Sex, Drugs, and…Gambling? What Parents Need to Know  

Gambling Addiction Triggers $14 Million Fraud [Gambling News]

A Nebraska pharmacist recently pleaded guilty to defrauding the state’s Medicaid program of $14.4 million, saying he stole the money because of a gambling addiction.

The Lincoln Journal Star reports the 44-year-old man has agreed to pay restitution, which will be paid in part through the sale of his home and other assets. He also faces up to 10 years in federal prison when he is sentenced in 2016. What’s more, it’s likely he’ll be prohibited from working as a pharmacist in the future.

According to an FBI investigation, the man reportedly filed nearly 400 false claims for prescription drugs over a nearly six-year period. Many of the claims were made in the names of his customers’ children.

The defense attorney stated his client’s crimes were fueled by an out-of-control gambling addiction. Investigators discovered the man had wagered more than $11 million at local casinos and had bet as much as $20,000 a hand on blackjack. In addition, investigators learned he’d bet more than $800,000 over a three-month period shortly before he was caught.

You Don’t Need to Lose $20,000 a Hand to Have a Gambling Problem.

Fraud cases like this one garner media attention because of the nearly-unbelievably high numbers involved. Yet many gamblers see their lives (and those of loved ones) destroyed by less sensational dollar figures. For example, the average debt of problem gamblers who called a Wisconsin gambling helpline in 2014 was $47,000.

You don’t need to gamble every day to have a problem either. Some people can go long periods without betting–only to engage in emotionally- and financially-crippling gambling binges that last days.

Gambling is a Problem Any Time it Causes Problems.

It’s never too early or too late to prevent or find help for gambling problems. Whether you’re just starting to worry about your behavior or your life already feels like it’s unraveling, professional treatment offers hope. Therapists specifically trained to work with problem gamblers will assess the behavior and recommend a treatment plan, which may include a combination of individual therapy, lifestyle changes, and attendance at support group meetings (like Gamblers Anonymous).

Learn more in:
6 Red Flags for Gamblers: When Is It Too Much?
14 Financial Warning Signs for Problem Gambling
Addictive by Design? How Gambling Machines Can Hook Players [Infographic]

For free guidance or treatment referrals in Lancaster County or Lebanon County, contact Compass Mark at 717-299-2831 or fill out the simple Gambling Addiction Help Form.

 

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.

 

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

A former bank manager says gambling addiction lead her to embezzle a combined $250,000 from several customers at a bank and a credit union in Central Pennsylvania. The initial allegations included taking out fraudulent loans, transferring a customer’s certificate of deposit into the manager’s own name, and defrauding customers.  The 40-year-old woman pleaded guilty to felony mail fraud related to the crimes and is scheduled to be sentenced this month.

Could gambling-motivated fraud happen at your Lancaster or Lebanon business?

How Gambling Impacts Employers

  • Problem gambling motivated 33% of major fraud cases examined in a 2012 study.
  • About 66% of those cases involved accounting or bookkeeping employees.
  • The average length of the fraud in that study was more than 4.5 years.
  • Over 6o% of problem gamblers said they’ve missed work to gamble, according to another study.
  • Over 55% of those in the same study reported less ability to focus on work tasks because of a preoccupation with gambling or gambling-related problems.

3 Ways to Protect Your Business from Problem Gambling-Related Theft

1. Implement a workplace gambling policy. A policy that defines what behavior is acceptable at your business will lay the foundation for identifying and addressing potential problems. Remember to consider whether employees can use company technology to access gambling websites and apps. Learn more in Do You Need a Workplace Gambling Policy?

2. Train supervisors and managers to identify employees who may be struggling with problem gambling. Teach those who supervise others to look for signs of gambling addiction, such as declining productivity, increasing absenteeism, or requesting payday advances. Employees with a possible gambling problem can then be referred to HR personnel or offered resources for professional evaluation and treatment. Find more information in How to Talk to an Employee with a Gambling Problem.

3. Initiate financial safeguards. Perform regular audits to help identify potential fraud or theft. When possible, divide accounting tasks among at least two employees, so no one person has complete control of company finances. For example, assign one employee to print out checks and another to sign them.

Resources for Compulsive Gambling and the Workplace

If you’re a business owner, manager, or HR professional in Lancaster County or Lebanon County, Compass Mark will direct you to the gambling addiction resources that help protect the business and the bottom line. Contact our experienced team at (717) 299-2831.

 

Problem Gambling—4 Facts for Lancaster, Lebanon Businesses

How much money can your business afford to lose to an employee’s gambling addiction?

$30 million?

That’s how much an Atlanta, GA real estate law firm lost after alleged embezzlement by one of its former managing partners. The accused man reportedly took money from several of the firm’s accounts as well as from those belonging to a related title company, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  He allegedly wired $4 million to casinos. An attorney for the accused man has called the allegations “false.”

We don’t know if the accused man struggled with compulsive gambling or what the outcome of this situation will be, but it’s a good reminder for Lancaster and Lebanon businesses that employees with gambling addiction can create significant problems for a company. Consider these problem gambling facts:

1. Gambling in the workplace is a serious productivity drain—the March Madness tournament alone is estimated to cost businesses up to $1 billion in productivity each year.

2. Gambling was a motivating factor in 33% of major U.S. embezzlement cases in 2012. Compulsive gamblers cannot control the urge to bet, much like someone addicted to drugs can’t control the urge to use. The result? A person addicted to gambling may turn to fraud or theft to find the money to gamble or cover personal bills.

3. Gambling-related fraud doesn’t need to run into six or more figures to harm a business. Ask yourself: How much can my company afford to lose? $1,000? $10,000? $50,000? The fact is that any loss is too much.

4. You can take action to prevent gambling-related fraud. Learn more by visiting these resources:

Need more information? Contact Compass Mark at (717) 299-2831. Our team provides education, prevention, and confidential treatment guidance to employers in Lancaster County and Lebanon County.

 

Must-Know Problem Gambling Info for Businesses

The annual productivity drain known as March Madness isn’t the only time you need to have problem gambling on your radar. Gambling at work can be an anytime problem, whether a worker is playing slots apps while on-the-clock or struggling with compulsive gambling. Here’s what business owners, managers, and supervisors in Lancaster and Lebanon need to know about problem gambling in the workplace:

1. Gambling addiction is a real condition.

The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) classifies it as an addictive disorder because it’s similar in many ways to substance abuse disorders. Like addiction to alcohol and other drugs, it’s a progressive condition that affects every facet of life. Problem gambling is linked to clinical depression, substance abuse, relationship conflict, and a higher risk of suicide.

2. Problem gambling costs businesses money.

In the workplace, the condition decreases productivity and increases tardiness and absenteeism. Additionally, gambling is now accessible through mobile devices, making it easy for an employee to gamble while at their desk, during meetings, or even from the restroom. Betting in the workplace affects morale, too; employees gambling amongst themselves create the potential for distraction and conflict.

In some situations, the urge to gamble is so strong the addicted person will commit crimes, like theft, fraud, or embezzlement, to cover up losses or get more gambling money. A report from Marquet found that problem gambling was a motivating factor in 33% of major employee-perpetrated fraud cases.

3. Implementing a gambling policy is a smart first step.

A written gambling policy, like those dealing with substance use, outlines acceptable behavior and expectations within the workplace. In addition, it should provide a system for employees to report prohibited gambling or suspected problem gambling in co-workers. For specific advice regarding a gambling policy, speak to an HR attorney.

Learn more about gambling addiction and your business.

Is Your Business at Risk for Gambling-Related Fraud?

How to Talk to an Employee with a Gambling Problem

Do You Need a Workplace Gambling Policy?

Is your staff trained to identify gambling addiction in employees? For more information about prevention and education in the workplace, contact Compass Mark at (717) 299-2831.