Compulsive Gambling Behaviors Observable in the Workplace

Compulsive gambling has been called the “hidden disease,” as there are few overt signs of it in the workplace until the problem is in its most advanced stage. Astute observers may, however, pick up clues.

Extensive gambling can be time-consuming. Doing everything required to gain the information required to gamble intelligently, to place bets, follow the action, borrow money and make payments often has an impact that can be observed in the workplace. An educational pamphlet on compulsive gambling lists these indicators that may be observed at work:

Late to work (due to late night card game, casino venture, or bad night’s sleep worrying about gambling-related problems).

Long lunches (off-track betting, meeting bookmaker or loan shark or creditors).  Long lunches locked in the office (playing poker online).

Mysterious disappearance in the afternoon (typically at the track, off-track betting, afternoon card or dice game, or listening to sporting events).

Sick days taken right when they become available rather than allowed to accumulate (uses sick days to gamble).

Vacation used in isolated days rather than blocks.

Excessive use of rest room (reads sports pages or listens to radio in the rest room).

Excessive use of the telephone (calls to off-track betting, bookie, creditors, or to find money; calls from bookie or creditors).

Reads newspaper and sports literature at work (scratch sheet from race track, racing form, sporting news, etc.).

Operates office sports pool or paycheck pool (the person running these sometimes has a gambling problem).

Collects money from other employees for off-track betting or lottery (ostensibly does this as convenience for co-workers but actually so he or she can place bets).

Organizes trips to Atlantic City, Las Vegas, or other gambling junkets (may indicate familiarity through frequent visits).

Operates as bookmaker or runner for bookmaker (many bookmakers and runners are themselves compulsive gamblers and do this in order to gamble more).

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