I Know My Employees Are Gambling. What Should I Do?

You’re aware that certain employees within your company are gambling to the point that it appears habitual. Should this be of concern to you as their employer? If it’s impacting productivity and inflating liability risk it most certainly can be. Regardless, it’s a concern that’s riddled with nuance and as such you’re worried about overstepping. What exactly is your responsibility to your staff? What’s their responsibility to you? Let’s review.

What Business Owners/Managers Can Do When They Know or Suspect Gambling May be Impacting Employees at Work

Identify Level of Risk to Company

Before we get into the concern over an employee’s behavioral health, it’s important to address how your company may be at risk beyond the aforementioned concerns of diminished productivity. Given that problem gamblers are more prone to fraud and embezzlement, certain industries need to be more concerned than others, These include the following:

  • Banking and financial services
  • Insurance services
  • Mining services
  • Real estate services

These four areas are logically at-risk, but by no means is this list exclusive. Telecommunications, healthcare, utilities, and other industries where key individuals can falsify records and transactions for personal gain (to gamble) must remain on alert.

Confirm Signs of Employee Problem Gambling

As alluded to in the title of this article, you are already aware of your employee/s gambling activities. If being done within the workplace (on-premises staff) or during work hours (remote staff) you have every right to request that they cease doing so. Businesses may institute a firm ban on employee gambling on premises, during work hours if working remotely, and whenever using company provided devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers (even outside of work hours). That being said, they are likely gambling outside of corporate “jurisdiction”. In this case your concern about their problematic gambling behavior becomes complicated. If they exhibit a combination of the following you may confirm that they might have a gambling problem and that it’s impacting your company’s profitability and integrity.

  • Frequently late to work and/or leaves work early
  • Frequently absent
  • Doesn’t complete work on time and/or to satisfaction
  • Constantly asks for advances in salary
  • Makes unreasonable requests for overtime to increase wages for pay periods
  • Makes unreasonable (work has been subpar) requests for pay raises
  • Receives calls at work from lenders and loan companies
  • Irritable and inattentive
  • Often talks about gambling with colleagues and subordinates
  • Has been spotted gambling at work (or while working remotely) on more than one occasion
  • Has been reasonably suspected of company fraud or embezzlement

Please note that problem gambling may co-occur with other mental and behavioral health disorders such as anxiety and depression. An employee may also be taking prescription medications that could cause them to gamble (seriously). Consequently, corrective or punitive action is not so clear-cut in a society that now calls upon corporate America to be more sympathetic to the mental health of their human resources. Taking insensitive action against an employee to supposedly protect your company could end up doing more harm than good from an HR and public relations perspective.

Establish a Workplace Policy About Gambling

Given the mainstream acceptance and incessant promotion of casino gaming and sports betting there’s a good chance that employees don’t think their doing anything wrong by gambling during work hours. Moreover, those with a gambling problem may not realize that it could be impacting their work even if they do not gamble at work. It’s time to make it clear by establishing a workplace policy about gambling and communicate it concisely to everyone in your corporate hierarchy. View our guide to creating a Gambling in the Workplace Policy.

Provide Employees With Access to Help

Your Gambling in the Workplace Policy will conclude with this most important call to action. However, it bears repeating in this article. As a part of your corporate responsibility to supporting the mental health of employees, you will need to provide them with access to problem gambling and co-occurring condition support services. This may mean making it a part of corporate health insurance. Consider this in the vein as you may do for physiotherapy for personnel who injure themselves at/or adjacent to work, and the like.

Corporate Philanthropy for Gambling Disorder

Lastly, we encourage you to shine a spotlight on America’s gambling problem and make it a part of your corporate philanthropy strategy. In doing so, employees can get involved in company fundraising campaigns together with C-level executives which is a team-building exercise that increases awareness about the problem. It also lets staff know that your organization exists in a supportive (not judgmental) capacity, should individuals within be struggling with the very same problem the company wants to make a positive difference in. There are programs that need the help of corporate America, such as the Military Treatment Fund which helps active and veteran members of the military get help for gambling disorder, which they are at higher risk for.

Provide Employees With Access to Help

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