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Southern California Problem Gambling Summit November 4, 2010 Gaming Venue & Other Employees: At-Risk for Problem Gambli

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Southern California Problem Gambling Summit November 4, 2010 Gaming Venue & Other Employees: At-Risk for Problem Gambling. Suzanne Koch Eckenrode, MFT, CCGCII, NCGCII, Consultant NAPAFASA Problem Gambling Prevention TA and Training Project

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Southern California Problem Gambling SummitNovember 4, 2010Gaming Venue & Other Employees:At-Risk for Problem Gambling

Suzanne Koch Eckenrode,


NAPAFASA Problem Gambling Prevention TA and Training Project

Funded by the State of California Office of Problem Gambling

most vulnerable industries to pg
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
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 employees4
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 employees5
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
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
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
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
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 venue10
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 venue11
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 venue12
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)





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 employee problem gambling
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 employee problem gambling15
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 employee problem gambling16
Signs of EmployeeProblem Gambling
  • Declining Work Performance
    • Missed deadlines
    • Unfinished projects
    • Poor concentration
    • Diminished work quality
    • Absences from meetings
signs of employee problem gambling17
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 employee problem gambling18
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
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 staff20
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
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
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
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 & 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
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
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.