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.

 

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:

 

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.

 

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.

 

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

Can your company afford to lose $500 today? What about $50,000? Gambling addiction is a leading cause in major fraud and embezzlement cases. Here are 6 questions Lancaster and Lebanon business owners and managers should ask themselves:

1. Do we have policies defining which gambling activities are prohibited in the workplace?

Many companies have policies regarding substance use on the job, but gambling often doesn’t receive the same attention. A gambling policy sets the foundation for protecting the business from gambling-related theft, fraud, or embezzlement. A policy typically states which types of gambling are prohibited in the workplace. It may also outline what disciplinary actions can be taken against those who commit violations.

2. Does the policy account for newer tech gadgets, like personal tablets or smartphones?

Even if you have a gambling policy, it might not reflect relatively new technology. Make sure the guidelines address employees’ use of their own devices to gamble on company time or property.

3. Are supervisors, managers, and HR personnel trained to identify potential gambling problems in employees?

People struggling with substance addiction often (although not always) exhibit physical signs of their condition. In compulsive gambling, however, there are few physical tip-offs. Train workplace professionals to identify the signs of problem gambling, including:

  • Decreasing workplace performance
  • Asking for pay advances or requesting pay in lieu of sick days
  • Increasing tardiness or absenteeism
  • Taking the lead regularly to organize sports pools, lottery purchases, or other gambling-related activities
  • Owing money to co-workers
  • Experiencing mood swings related to winning or losing

Find out if someone you know is at risk by taking the simple quiz on the SafeStakes.org homepage.

4. Does our workplace block gambling websites from business-owned computers and devices?

You may already have software in place to block sexually-explicit sites. Consider adding blocks that prevent employees from accessing online gambling as well.

5. Do we have a corporate culture that embraces gambling?

The corporate environment can actually feed into illicit gambling-related activities: perhaps the business regularly entertains clients at a Pennsylvania casino, or the office makes a big, coordinated deal out of March Madness every year. Finding alternative ways to interact with clients socially or build employee morale will send the message that gambling isn’t welcome during working hours.

6. Do we have the financial processes in place to protect ourselves from embezzlement?

When it comes to running a small business, it’s not uncommon for people-power to be at a premium—that means one person might oversee all money-related activities, from signing checks to placing purchase orders.

Protect your company by implementing the checks and balances that make it less vulnerable to a lone employee’s illicit actions. Taking simple steps, such as requiring dual signatures on checks or regularly auditing petty cash, will reduce your exposure.

Learn More About How to Protect Your Bottom Line:

How to Talk to an Employee with a Gambling Problem

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

Gambling Addiction Treatment Providers in Lancaster, Lebanon, & Surrounding Areas

Compass Mark shares compulsive gambling education, prevention, and treatment resources with Lancaster and Lebanon businesses. Call us at (717) 299-2831 to learn more.