Southern California Problem Gambling SummitNovember 4, 2010Gaming Venue & Other Employees:At-Risk for Problem Gambling Suzanne Koch Eckenrode, MFT, CCGCII, NCGCII, Consultant firstname.lastname@example.org NAPAFASA Problem Gambling Prevention TA and Training Project Funded by the State of California Office of Problem Gambling
Most Vulnerable Industries to PG • Gaming Venue Employees; • Independent jobs or shift work (real estate, investors, day traders, sales); and • Cash workers (restaurant, construction).
Gaming Venue Employees • Studies have shown that venue employees (casinos, card rooms, racetracks, lottery vendors, etc.) are an at-risk group for developing problem gambling behaviors. • They have greater rates of problem gambling than the general population, from 15 to 20% -- 10 times the national average.
Gaming Venue Employees • Include frontline staff: dealers, slot attendants, cashiers, pit bosses; • Also technicians, housekeepers, hotel desk clerks, racetrack announcers, cocktail servers, security officers & CEO’s; • Each of these have greater exposure and access to gambling than the general public.
Gaming Venue Employees • One study reported venue staff considered more at-risk than general population by: • 32% of managers; • 57% of hotel employees; • 56% of club employees; • 24% of casino employees; • 100% of problem gamblers; • 79% of counselors. (Hing, 2007)
Gaming Venue Staff – Chicken or egg? • Pre-disposing theory • Attracted to venue due to pre-existing PG, or other problem • Environmental theory • Influence of environment (Hing & Breen, 2008, Schaffer, 1999)
Pre-Disposing Theory • Casino employees with gambling problems have higher rates of smoking, drinking and depression than co-workers without PG • PG have higher rates of depression, anxiety and hyperactivity (ADHD) (Lee, 2008, Schaffer, 1999)
Environmental theory • Three-quarters of respondents identified as “problem gamblers” and two-fifths of those identified as “moderate risk problem gamblers” increased their gambling since beginning work in a gaming establishment. (Hing, 2008)
Risk Factors of Working in a Gaming Venue • Close interaction with gamblers • Hear and view wins, given tips • Frequent exposure and access to gambling • Normalization, desensitization of gambling • Ready access • Atmosphere of work environment (lights, no clocks)
Risk Factors of Working in a Gaming Venue • Influence of fellow employees • Introduce and encourage one another • Gamble together at work, after work and on days off • Influence of management • Management gambling and fostering gambling culture of workplace
Risk Factors of Working in a Gaming Venue • Workplace stress • See gambling as a way to unwind after work, be left alone, or deal with tension • Shift work • Most important workplace factor encouraging gambling • Working outside 9-5, M-F work hours, when family and friends may not be available; fosters social isolation
Risk Factors of Working in a Gaming Venue • Frequent exposure to gambling marketing and promotions • Reinforces gambling as a means of winning money • raises awareness of jackpot levels and other high stakes • Other workplace factors: • alcohol consumption, access to cash, • reluctance to expose a gambling problem – embarrassment and fears of: losing their job, affecting advancement, taking blame for cash shortfalls (Hing & Breen, 2008)
RISK & PROTECTIVE FACTORS IN THE WORKPLACE STAFF GAMBLING BEHAVIOUR VENUE STRATEGIES Close interaction with gamblers Problem gambling Moderate-risk gambling Low-risk gambling Responsible (no-risk) gambling Frequent exposure to gambling Influence of fellow employees Influence of Management To discourage problem gambling Workplace stressors Shift work Frequent exposure to marketing/promotions To encourage responsible gambling Staff training in responsible gambling Venue-based responsible gambling measures Other workplace factors
Signs of EmployeeProblem Gambling • Loss of Time on the Job • Late to work • Long lunches • Mysterious disappearances • Abusing phone privileges • Visiting on-line websites (Adapted from Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling. Gambling in the Workplace: prevention and detection)
Signs of EmployeeProblem Gambling • Deteriorating Office Behavior • Frequent mood swings, irritability • Conflicts about unpaid loans • Disregard for appearance or hygiene • Vacation time used in isolated days rather than a block • Sick days taken right when they become available rather than accumulating
Signs of EmployeeProblem Gambling • Declining Work Performance • Missed deadlines • Unfinished projects • Poor concentration • Diminished work quality • Absences from meetings
Signs of EmployeeProblem Gambling • Extreme Gambling Interests • Organizing office pools • Planning gambling trips outside of work • Reading gambling literature at work • Has an obsessive interest in the results/scores of races, sporting events, or lotteries
Signs of EmployeeProblem Gambling • Desperate Financial Behavior • Excessive debt • Borrowing from fellow staff or patrons • Requests pay advances • Pay is garnished • Thefts from co-workers, patrons or venue • Embezzling funds (bank short) • Selling personal or stolen goods at work
Ways To Encourage Responsible Gambling And Discourage Problem Gambling For Gaming Staff • No gambling in the workplace policy • More staff education and training • Raise staff awareness of gambling problems • Utilize Employee Assistance Programs and Human Resources • Self-restriction and Self-exclusion programs • Responsible Gaming Establishments (Hing & Breen, 2008)
Ways To Encourage Responsible Gambling And Discourage Problem Gambling For Gaming Staff • Promote non-gambling social and leisure activities; • Provide alternate non-gambling jobs; • Restrict or ban pay advances and cash payment of wages; • Carefully monitor cash flow; have vigilant supervision, surveillance and controls. (Hing, 2008, Hing, & Breen, 2006)
Awareness Information • Prominently display problem gambling signage, posters, and other promotional tools. • Make brochures available, that explain the nature and symptoms of problem gambling and include a toll-free self-help line – near ATM machines, cash areas, entrances/exits, and staff break rooms. • Present the safe gambling message through many and various means so that it sinks into staff. (Hing & Breen, 2006)
Employee Problem Gambling Training • Provide regular trainings for gaming venue staff. • Increase awareness of staff that they are particularly susceptible to problem gambling. • Training topics proposed include: understanding the risks of developing gambling problems, detecting the signs of problem gambling, and understanding the consequences of problem gambling. • Trainings should provide employees information about Help-lines, problem gambling programs and counseling options, and self-restriction and exclusion programs. (Hing, 2008)
Utilize EAP & HR Services • If the venue has an Employee Assistance Program, employees should be instructed on how to use it. • Management should require that Employee Assistance Program (EAP) counselors and Human Resource personnel are trained to identify and refer problem gamblers. • Management should encourage problem gambling screening for employees who visit EAPs, even if they present for other problems. (Shaffer, 1999)
Self Restriction & Self Exclusion • Self-restriction • limit access to advertising and promotions, credit and check cashing, or the entire gambling establishment. • Self-exclusion • voluntarily ban statewide from card rooms and on an individual basis from participating tribal casinos for a specified time limit. (California Gaming Control Commission, 2007). • These programs can increase staff accountability and decrease temptation to gamble for those with PG. • Studies show they deterred problem gambling in staff who had witnessed the ill-effects of problem gambling in their patrons. (Hing & Breen, 2008)
Responsible Gaming Establishments • California has a statewide program operated by the California Gaming Control Commission for state-licensed card rooms, which are required to be responsible gaming establishments. • This mandates training for all employees excluding food and beverage servers. (California Gaming Control Commission, 2007) • The tribal members of the California Business Alliance signed an agreement to offer responsible gaming programs which include self-exclusion. (California Tribal Business Alliance)
Case Example – Staying on Track Junior is 47 yo divorced male returning to his job as a parimutuel clerk at the track where he has worked for 19 yrs. He was suspended for writing $6k in bad checks, and mandated to seek help. He started gambling at 7 yo w/ his father who was a PG and also worked at the track. He now has 6 mos. abstinence and 45 days sober.