Problem Gambling Awareness Matters, Even in the Workplace: Global Employee Health and Fitness Month
The month of May is recognized as Global Employee Health & Fitness Month (GEHFM), an annual awareness event which aims to “promote the benefits of a healthy lifestyle to employers and their employees through worksite health promotion activities and environments” . Problem gambling can affect anyone from any age, gender, background, or ethnicity. The issues that stem from problem gambling can disrupt all areas of life, including one’s career, with direct impacts on the workplace too. Did you know that each case of gambling addiction affects an average of 8-10 people beyond the gambler? Loved ones such as family and friends often feel the most direct impacts, but employers and co-workers can be affected as well.
Because gambling disorder is characterized by an inability to stop or control gambling and often preoccupation, the affected individual may be distracted at work and call out to go to the casino to gamble, impacting the employee’s overall work performance. Just as those who suffer from gambling disorder will lie to family and friends to cover up gambling, the same can extend to coworkers and supervisors. For the gambler, problem gambling can lead to performance and productivity problems, disciplinary action, and termination. For the employer, gambling addiction in the workplace can mean substantial economic loss, increased liability, and when the gambler becomes desperate, risk of resulting criminal activity, such as embezzlement.
These days, gambling is not confined to the walls of casinos. In the workplace, it can take the form of betting pools among coworkers. When someone on staff is in recovery for gambling addiction, what starts as a friendly social activity can mean relapse back into a vicious cycle. Online gambling through mobile phones and expanded work-from-home arrangements following the COVID-19 pandemic also make access to gambling on the clock hard to track.
On the bright side, recovery is possible, and the first step is to reach out to our 888-ADMIT-IT (888-236-4848) Confidential and Multilingual Problem Gambling Helpline. Whether for yourself or someone you know, it’s the best way to get connected to the resources that make a difference with problem gambling. The 888-ADMIT-IT HelpLine is available 24/7 and may also be reached by texting (321) 978-0555, emailing email@example.com, initiating a live chat at gamblinghelp.org, or by reaching out to us on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter.
The FCCG’s Managing the Odds Problem Gambling Workplace Program
Did you know that the FCCG has developed a problem gambling awareness program designed for the workplace? Managing the Odds arms employers with the tools necessary to address and provide resources for individuals in the workplace with gambling problems. The program provides specific information pertaining to workplace impacts, strategies for addressing, and policy development to establish protocols and services for employees (or employers) who may fall prey to the negative effects of gambling. It bridges the gap between workplace programs which address employee alcohol, drugs, and tobacco use to include awareness and resources for help with a gambling addiction.
Managing the Odds can be easily integrated into an existing Employee Awareness Program (EAP) or utilized independently. The kit includes an instruction guide outlining the program purpose and material use; an internal company assessment (programs, policies, practices, and workplace culture in relationship to problem gambling); an employee two question screen for use in instances where employees exhibit signs of a gambling problem; and collateral materials (i.e., paycheck insert, poster, sample newsletter article, and mouse pad). Finally, it furnishes a postcard with stories of embezzlement highlighting that gambling in the workplace is costly and outlines the true costs of gambling in the workplace (productivity, time, etc.).
To learn more about this program and request a copy, call 888-ADMIT-IT.
 “Encouraging Fit and Healthy Employees Is Fast & Easy!” Global Employee Health & Fitness Month, The National Association for Health and Fitness (NAHF), 2021, www.gehfm.org/.