Earlier this year, some of our HR Consultants attended a Harmful Gambling Webinar from the excellent team at Worksafe, a partnership between the training arm of Betknowmore UK (BKM Evolve) and GamCare.
We understand that gambling can be a safe activity for many, but for others, it can become a downward spiral causing a lack of productivity and other issues in the workplace. We would like to share our learnings and raise awareness of Harmful Gambling and what can be done inside and out of the Workplace.
An article published before the pandemic in 2019 highlighted that harmful gambling cases in the Southwest were up by 15 cases within 1 year. During the pandemic, more people had active online gambling accounts and with National Lockdowns meaning people stayed home, online gambling rose 4%. There is a need to increase awareness of the harms gambling can cause and how local south west employers can support and signpost their teams.
What is Gambling?
Gambling is the wagering of value on an event with an uncertain outcome in a variety of different scenarios. The Cambridge Dictionary defines Gambling as “the activity of betting money, for example in a game or on a horse race”.
Whilst many people associate Gambling with betting shops, horse racing, football accumulators and Casino’s, there are also other examples that are less synonymous with the term. Some of these include The National Lottery, Stock Trading Platforms (such as Trading 212 or eToro), Crypto-currency (such as Bitcoin) or anything where the degree of risk is high, and the odds are not in your favour.
Gambling in the Workplace
In the workplace, gambling can be an intertwined culture that for many is just a bit of fun. For others, this can be the gateway to harmful gambling . Workplace Lottery Syndicates, Social events such as Casino Nights or trips to the races may seem like a good way to encourage bonding – but are these causing more harm than good? Across the UK 10% of working adults have experience in the problems that gambling addiction can have in the workplace and 1 out of 100 are experiencing gambling harms. Discussion within our team revealed they had worked with people who receive big bonuses on pay-day, only to then go to the races or a casino in an attempt to double or triple their money. After a minority were successful the culture grew and often employees would be losing their bonus.
The effects this can have on businesses can range from a loss of morale and motivation, presenteeism, lost time and productivity and an increase in the chances of embezzlement and fraud. That is why it is crucial for businesses to tackle Gambling Addiction head-on. If a good employee suddenly seems demotivated and unproductive at work, don’t immediately seek dismissal through Poor Performance. Sit with them 1-1 and try asking direct questions that will help you understand what is going on, so you can offer support.
Employers can use the TRIC model to identify help deal with Gambling Addiction within the workplace:
What is triggering an employee to be less productive?
Are activities such as Office Pools or Lottery Syndicates addressing harm negatively?
Does talking about the latest Sports matches, trigger the need to place bets?
Is there a culture in the organisation that supports gambling? Do staff openly talk about gambling wins and encourage others to join in?
How, as a company can you reduce risk?
Site blockers are easily available for systems and help to prevent people from accessing Gambling sites whilst on work devices and connections.
Providing support and advice for those who request it. Whether this be through Employee Assistance Programmes or referrals to local charities.
Is the information readily available about Gambling Harms?
Raising awareness may help to prevent Gambling Harms from arising.
Is there a discreet place Employees can get info, or do you have a list of recommended advice providers?
Does your company help with Financial Education or support those that request it?
Do you check in with staff regularly?
With the move to working from home, this is increasingly important. Are you checking in with staff regularly for well-being?
Are you identifying areas of concern for those staff who may be de-motivated or underperforming?
Do you have a Gambling Harms policy?
What are the signs and what can we do?
Employers should look out for staff who are borrowing without explanation or asking for drawdowns on their salary as this will highlight financial issues that may be related to gambling harms.
Do employees often speak of Gambling and bring it up in the office? This could be a sign that employees are trying to seek advice and help.
Are employees often not attending, or attending but not ‘present’ appearing vacant and distracted, or showing an unwillingness or lack of morale/motivation for work? When questioned, is an employee being secretive about unexplained absences or are they often late? Do they take an unusual amount of time to undertake business activities outside of the office?
Using the TRIC model above helps to provide a working template for managers if they believe staff are facing Gambling Harm. Through raising awareness of the impacts within and outside of the organisation, delivering training and writing Gambling Harm policies, managers can help to alleviate and bring to light any potential Gambling Harms.
CitrusHR Consultants have a variety of depth of experience and have the resources available to help deliver training, support, create policies and advise organisations – whether they have identified a potential Gambling Harm or whether you want to minimise risk. Speak with one of our friendly consultants today calling 0844 854 6704 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Local Southwest Support Services
In the South West, there are a number of organisations who will offer help and support to those suffering with the effects of Gambling Harms:
Healthy Lifestyles Gloucestershire work alongside GamCare to provide support, advice and assistance to those being affected (directly or indirectly) by Gambling. They can make a referral, or ask for support themselves.
Ara Gambling Service / Ara Recovery For All provides 1:1 support for those experiencing problems with their own gambling or that of a family member living in Bristol, Wales and the South West of England.
South West Gambling Support Service – Part of Wellbeing at Work, they support Individuals and businesses for Wellbeing at Work and have previously run support and Webinars on Gambling Harms.
National Support Services
National Gambling Helpline 0808 8020 133
The National Gambling Helpline is available 24/7 and provides confidential information, advice, and support for anyone affected by gambling harms in England, Scotland, and Wales.
GamCare operates the National Gambling Helpline, provides treatment for anyone who is harmed by gambling, creates awareness about safer gambling and treatment, and encourages an effective approach to safer gambling within the gambling industry.
Betknowmore UK addresses gambling related harm in UK communities by providing award-winning services which embrace the insight and knowledge of ‘Experts by Experience’ combined with evidence-based approaches.
BKM Evolve is the training arm of Betknowmore UK and includes Worksafe, a new programme providing tailored support to employers, as they develop a wellbeing at work approach to gambling harms whilst at the same time mitigating business risk.