If you think one of your co-workers has a gambling problem, you may feel uncomfortable saying something to the person. It’s awkward to bring up personal issues in the workplace—and money is a sensitive subject. However, you can say that you are concerned in a caring way.
Gambling is a popular form of recreation in Alberta. At work, it may mean playing the office pool, buying a raffle ticket, or dropping a few loonies into a video lottery terminal over the lunch hour. Most people who do these activities don’t develop gambling problems.
For about 5 out of 100 adult Albertans, however, gambling is a problem. It may be spending more than you meant to, even it only was once, or it may be an ongoing problem with you losing money and getting more in debt. There are a few people who can’t control their gambling much as those addicted to alcohol can’t control their drinking.
The negative effects of problem gambling can extend into the workplace. A problem gambler may be too distracted to focus on work. Work and other commitments may be scheduled in a way that doesn’t get in the way of gambling or gives the person more chances to gamble. The gambler may regularly take long lunch hours. He or she may even use money from staff funds to gamble or cover debts.
Signs of a possible gambling problem are:
Before you share your concerns, it helps to be clear about your role. As a concerned colleague, you could simply share what you’ve noticed with your co-worker. Don't try to diagnose the problem, give advice, or expect any sign that your co-worker accepts your concern.
These tips may help you:
Your co-worker's reaction to your remarks could range from thanking you for your concern to denial to being very angry. It’s hard to know how he or she will react. Your co-worker:
Whatever your co-worker chooses to do, you have given the information and support they need.
AHS Addiction Services has information about problem gambling. It offers confidential counselling to problem gamblers and those who are concerned about them. You can also get information and support from Gamblers Anonymous (GA) and Gam-Anon. Check your telephone directory for listings or call the
24-hour Help Line to see if there is a group in your area.
If you are worried that you or someone you know may be having problems with gambling we’re here to help. Our addiction treatment services are voluntary and confidential. For more information and to find an addiction services office near you, please call the
24-hour Help Line.
Current as of: March 2, 2017
Author: Addiction and Mental Health, Alberta Health Services
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