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Office betting under the microscope in anti-gambling campaign

Tue, May 27, 1:48pm by Dominic Ciconte

Gambling at workGAMBLING on company devices at your office could now see your boss in a whole world of financial trouble.

Companies could now be fined more than $1 million for breaching safety standards if proven liable for workplace gambling under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

A business that supplies laptops, smart phones, computers or tablets without a gambling policy or an attempt to block the sites could even be up for criminal convictions.

The issue has been raised this week by responsible gambling foundation spokespeople ahead of Responsible Gambling Awareness Week.

Holding Redlich senior associate and workplace relations specialist, Joel Zyngier, told the Herald Sun that if employees with gambling addictions “got sick or sicker” from gambling at work, their employer would be liable for damages.

“If an employee with a gambling problem was able to gamble all day at work using the employee computer system, smart phone or tablet and there was no policy, no effort to block the sites, the employer would arguably have failed to reduce the risk to that employee under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.”

Chief of the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, Serge Sardo, said that every workplace had a responsibility to protect its employees.

“Employers from a health and wellbeing perspective need to be providing support as they do with a range of other things like mental health, but also from an OHS perspective, it’s a risk they are exposed to,” he said.

He said gambling can obviously also impact on productivity through lost work hours – problem gamblers miss, on average, seven hours a week. There is also a risk that employees could undertake fraudulent behaviour or theft to fund their habit.

Our take on the story

You can’t argue with the sentiment here. AustralianGambling always encourages responsible gambling. With the onset and convenience of smart phone and online gambling sites, workplace safety is a point worth raising.

Ignoring the fact you will likely get yourself fired for gambling while on company time, it’s always wise to separate work and play.

No one is saying not to have a punt – but ensure that you use your own devices, be safe about it and enjoy it the right way.

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