Blog: Hold the aces if you employ a gambler

  26 February 2018

Adam Lamb, John Pace and Christopher Barber were all in court in recent weeks – three men with three things in common – all sold cars for a living, defrauded their employers and had gambling addictions.

Is it just coincidence they worked for dealerships? There are arguments to suggest the job is certainly conducive to addiction.

Sales is competitive, with employees often feeling they’re head to head with peers, with performance – good or bad – out in the open. Gambling can be a distraction if things aren’t going well and a ‘reward’ if they are. This tends to be more of a problem for men, While a generalisation, men tend to be more hedonistic risk-takers. They also may be more into sport and football, for example, has a close connection with betting. Men are also the biggest users of online casinos and ubiquitous betting shops which often stay open late and house notorious fixed-odd terminals that can consumer hundreds of pounds in minutes,

Top sales people in dealerships aren’t in the same pay league as top footballers – themselves noted for their propensity to gamble – they’re better off than many other retail workers and so in a position to gamble frequently.

Gambling can be fun but can also ruin lives and is unwelcome for any business too. All too often, it’s a secretive habit, only uncovered once serious fraud has occurred.

Some actions an employer can take include:

Banning access to gambling platforms on work computers and phones and making it clear why this is happening – ensure there is a clear ‘no gambling’ policy at work.

Have workplace posters giving helpline numbers along with guidance to help staff identify whether they are at risk – being open this is a common problem may encourage someone to seek help.

Be aware for gambling indicators – although screening staff for CCJs may not be something a business wants to do, it could reveal problems.

Have stringent financial controls.

Employers may also want to consider offering counselling and other support to someone who has the courage to ask for help.

Team building events should not be held at place where gambling is encouraged – ie greyhound racing.

It’s said over two million people have a problem gambling habit – but this is only guesswork, most will know someone who gambles heavily or that their own addiction is hard to control.

While regulators are taking action in banning advertisements that say ‘bet now’ and where ‘free money’ is offered to bet with, these measures won’t make much difference. There is a powerful pro-gambling lobby in the UK which means the temptations are going to remain and unfortunately, cases where dealership sales staff end up in court will also remain a fixture too.


Rachel Gordon


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