As we head towards Cheltenham week, in workplaces all around the country (and even the occasional church), all conversations turn to the odds of a particular horse, jockey or trainer being "great value" or a "dead cert" or whatever you're having yourself. In my last office-job before becoming an addiction counsellor, the usual low-level banter around betting got cranked up 'to 11' in the days leading up to the festival, as well as throughout the event.
For most people, this is a relatively harmless bit of fun, which can get 'switched on' at certain times of the year (Grand Nationals, World Cups, etc.) and then gets safely put back in its box at the end of the event. Normal Service Resumes. However, for a small, but rapidly growing percentage of people, gambling is becoming an unhealthy obsession.
For employers, this can be complex area. On the one hand, workplace 'pools' and other gambling activities around major sporting events can help to improve workplace cohesion and boost morale. On the other hand, productivity may dip during these events and staff members with gambling problems (either actively gambling or in recovery) can be exposed to increased risks of harm.
In the UK, a recent report by employment services provider, Reed in Partnership, found that “one in ten adults have direct experience of the problems gambling can cause in the workplace, as they know someone for whom gambling has negatively affected their work”. Other findings in the report included 72% of adults thinking that “business should be concerned about gambling, with the biggest concern expressed by those who work in financial services” and 82% of adults thinking that “gambling and debt can be a distraction for people in work”.
Another UK Study (BDO Fraudtrack Report) found that 12.5% of all reported fraud committed in the UK in 2015 was gambling-related. This equates to £225 million.
How to tell if your employee has a gambling issue (From the Australian HR Institute)
Problem gambling can impact a range of areas of work. Here are some of the warning signs that your employee might need help:
If you are concerned about gambling in your workplace, contact Barry on 089 241 5401 or email info[at]problemgambling.ie. Details of our Workplace Gambling services are available on our Services Page.
Barry Grant, Addiction Counsellor, Founder.