By Jennifer Faringer
As gambling opportunities expand in our community, gambling has also made its way into the workplace. Currently approximately 5% or 668,000 adults in New York state are struggling with a serious gambling problem. Problem gambling, known as the silent addiction, causes not only financial problems, but so often also causes other addiction problems, depression, suicide and decreased productivity at work.
The effects of problem gambling in the workplace environment include loss of time, loss of productivity, and sometimes more extreme effects such as theft, fraud and embezzlement. It’s important that employers and employees alike become familiar with the warning signs of problem gambling.
Warning signs include:
• Deterioration of performance on the job
• Frequent, unexplained absences from work
• Preoccupation with gambling in the workplace (sports pools, betting, etc)
• Borrowing money from coworkers
• Requesting pay in advance, cashing in retirement or vacation time
• Mood swings or a changes in personality and interactions with co-workers
• Verbalizing the toll that gambling is having on one’s life
Problem gambling impacts not only the problem gambler, but also affects their loved ones. It is estimated that between eight and 10 people, including family, friends and coworkers, are affected. That equates to an additional 6.7 million people in New York who are affected by problem gambling!
If you are concerned that you or a loved one or co-worker might be affected by problem gambling you can seek help from Gambler’s Anonymous meetings, outpatient treatment, counseling, and education.
Resources and links may be found at https://ncadd-ra.org/awareness-campaigns/underage-gambling.
Help raise awareness about how problem gambling, the silent addiction, affects people in their workplace.
Jennifer Faringer is director of DePaul’s National Councilon Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Rochester Area www.ncadd-ra.org