– by Milica Kostic, Content Specialist

Milica is a business enthusiast and content specialist who takes joy in writing about marketing, HR, cybersecurity, tech, finance, health. Her publications can be seen all over the web: Eventbrite, Gulf News, Host Review, CCM, Ahoy Gaming, to name a few. Her knowledge came from many years of B2B communication-based roles with 4 years of guiding world-known brands toward award-winning customer experience initiatives. She is also an advocate for vegetarianism, environmentalism, animal, and human rights with a degree in Sociology.   

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Gambling is all fun and games – until it’s not.

Don’t get us wrong; there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a fun hobby that earns you a few extra bucks. It only becomes a problem when the pastime turns into an addiction.


Struggling with addiction, regardless of its type, is never simple; We are often expected to be at our best when at work, which doesn’t leave much room for the care and support a person might need to get over the hurdle of gambling addiction. Let’s take a look at how best to approach this issue.

How To Spot a Gambling Addict in Your Workspace

According to, a gambling disorder is “repeated problematic gambling behavior that causes significant problems or distress.”


Maybe you’ve had an employee, colleague, or boss with a gambling addiction in the past, so you know the warning signs. If you haven’t, here are a few tips for identifying a person who might have a gambling problem:

  • Productivity decline
  • Increased absenteeism or unexplained disappearances
  • Absentmindedness
  • Unusual borrowing from colleagues
  • Gambling in the office
  • Frequent requests for a salary advance
  • Unusual sick leave pattern
  • Eagerness to take part in gambling opportunities
  • Requests for money instead of vacation time
  • Embezzlement of company funds
  • Stealing from colleagues
  • Complaints about mounting debts
  • Frequent mood swings.
  • Theft of company property
  • Excessive work phone or internet use


While these signs may not apply to all instances, they can help with spotting a gambling problem in some cases.

How To Approach a Colleague or an Employee With a Gambling Addiction

Once you recognize that a person at your workplace has an apparent gambling addiction, the next step is to figure out the best way to approach them.


Of course, confronting someone about their personal issues can be awkward and stressful for everyone involved, especially in the workplace. The person may find your insinuations offensive, especially if they’re still in denial. But these difficult conversations need to be had to keep situations from getting worse than they already are. Ignoring the problem is never the answer.


This is definitely not the time to be judgemental or condescending, as that will only make the person feel worse than they already do. Understanding and sensitivity are the way to go. Addressing this issue is usually a job for HR personnel or a supervisor, but whoever ends up doing it can talk to the person in question using the tips below.

Respect Personal Boundaries

You do not want to be seen as a nosy busybody, so it’s vital that you make it clear that you don’t want to pry into this person’s affairs. Instead, assure them that you would be happy to talk about whatever may be troubling them.

Express Concern

You can express your concerns in a supportive manner without imposing blame. You don’t want them to feel attacked or switch to defensive mode. Relate your concern to their productivity in the workplace and help them understand that you’re worried about their well-being.

Explain How the Problem Affects You or the Company

Help them understand how their recent behavior may affect you directly or the company, as they may have been oblivious to the consequences of their recent activities.

Be Attentive

Listen to what they have to say attentively, without expressing judgment or anger. Instead, go over what you want to say next in your head, and adapt it to how the conversation is going. You can summarise what they said so they feel heard.

Be Positive

Assure them that they are not alone and that you will be there to assist with getting over the problem. Depending on how honest they are about it, you can reassure them they can get through the problem and go back to being as good as they were before their addiction.

Be Clear About Your Position

While showing care and support, you also want to be assertive and clear about your stance. Explain the impact their current behavior may have on their career and the attached consequences if there are no changes.

Provide Information

You can go further by providing them with information or resources to help them overcome their gambling addiction. You do not necessarily have to advise them on what to do; just state the options they have and how those can be useful.

How Can Organizations Deal With Gambling in the Workplace?

Employers or organizations should be proactive in curbing gambling problems in the workplace. The consequences of turning a blind eye to gambling issues are bound to be detrimental to both the organization and its members. Below are a few ways to stop that from happening.

Gambling Policies

Just like the policies about phone and internet use, an employer can implement clear gambling policies in the workplace. This might steer employees away from gambling, as they will be aware that their company forbids it.

Create Awareness

Invite discussions or send newsletters about gambling responsibly and the possible consequences of gambling addiction to all employees. You can also train them to identify and assist with a gambling addiction amongst colleagues.

Proper Monitoring

Carefully observe behavioral patterns of employees, monitor the usage of company property (e.g., the internet and phones), and pay attention to company funds and cash flow within the office. This way, you’re sure to notice when something is amiss.

Financial Counseling

Offering financial counseling to employees can help them make better financial decisions. This can also lessen the risk of them wasting all their money on gambling.

Resources for Overcoming a Workplace Gambling Addiction

  1. The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) helpline is a 24-hour confidential service for problem gamblers or their families. The contact number is (800) 522-4700.
  2. American Addiction Centers (AAC) also has a 24-hour helpline for people struggling with gambling addiction or substance abuse. You can contact the helpline at (888) 969-5190.
  3. Gamblers Anonymous is an international organization that offers 12-step support meetings for individuals suffering from a gambling addiction. They also have several hotlines for different US states.


A gambling addiction should be treated as seriously as any other mental health issue. Untreated gambling poses psychological and financial risks that could destroy families and friendships and cause chaos in the workplace.

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