At the same time, there are several examples of corruption within casinos in terms of employees. In Atlantic City, for example, one of the largest gambling rings was recently infiltrated in November of this year. Police charged twenty three individuals including six casino employees, with illegal sports gambling. According to reports, the group took in more than $22 million in bets on college and professional basketball and football games since March of 2006. The bets were taken inside a poker room at a popular gambling hotel. A supervisor of the poker room was arrested in the action on charges of promoting illegal gambling. According to police reports, the group employed casino employees through bribes and payoffs to avoid detection (Clark, online).
Casino owners agree a primary problem with casino employee gambling is the likelihood for addiction coupled with the availability of company funds, resources, and assets. As Michael D. Rumbolz, executive vice president of the Trump Castle Hotel and Casino and former chairman of the State Gambling Control Board of Nevada, noted, gambling employees such as those in Atlantic City handle the cash assets of the casino, as well as run the tables. This type of exposure allows the employees not only high access to funds with which to support gambling problems, but also an opportunity to do something inappropriate (Romano, 4).
Still another problem with casino employee gambling is the simple appearance of propriety. As Steven Perskie of the Casino Control Commission points out, employee gambling has the potential to create an illusion of fraud, even if no crime is committed. Perskie notes that one of the successes of casinos has been the public confidence that everything is fair, and that all levels of the system are closely watched and regulated. He questions whether that consumer confidence would remain if employees were to hit jackpot winnings at the casino in which they worked (Romano, 4).
It is clear employee gambling has many inherent risks, including addiction, increased fraud, increased addiction to other sources, and a decrease in consumer confidence. However, to combat these issues, many casinos already have structures in place to assist those with gambling problems, as well as to educate employees about such issues. Harrah's Entertainment, for example, developed "Operation Bet Smart" and "Project 21" programs for employees as well as for the general public as early as the 1980s. The programs are designed to train employees on how to watch for gambling addiction issues, how to handle existing addictions, and where to turn for help is such addiction arises. By 1996, American Gaming Association members created the National Center for Responsible Gaming, a company devoted to funding research that helps to increase the understanding of gambling addiction and finds methods of treatment for the disorder. In turn, this company helps to create screening criteria for potential employees to avoid the hiring of a compulsive gambler, as well as to give anyone with such as addiction an outlet for assistance (American Gaming Association, online).
By 1997, the AGA also created the Responsible Gaming National Education Campaign, which focuses on educating casino workers about responsible gaming. The campaign includes informational materials for employees, as well as programs such as Responsible Gambling Education Week, which is a weeklong seminar for employees flagged as having gambling addiction issues. Such seminars help to show existing employees how to continue to function as valuable members of the casino team without gambling (American Gaming Association, online).
Additionally, legislators are beginning to take notice, and attempt to assist casino employees. Assemblywoman Dolores G. Cooper, Republican of Atlantic City has recently put forth legislation in the Assembly that would remove the restriction for employee gambling, but would require them to register with the Casino Control Commission officer within casinos. This would, according to Cooper, lessen the likelihood for fraud or collusion arguments, and would prevent compulsive gambling by allowing casinos to monitor their employee's gambling habits (Romano, 3).
There can be no question that casino employees have a higher likelihood for gambling problems, particularly on Indian reservations and with employees with previous addictions. Further, casino employee gambling creates a higher likelihood and more opportunities for fraud, embezzlement, and improper behaviors. Additionally, employee gambling creates the possibility of decreased consumer confidence.
However, there is help available to employees with gambling addiction issues, both through federal and state groups, as well as through casinos themselves. Further, through proper screening, educational materials and seminars, and registration measures, it is possible to keep employee gambling problems to a minimum. While controlling how or where an employee gambles may not be the solution, proper care of the situation can ensure that gambling remains a safe and positive activity for employees and consumers alike.
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American Gaming Association. "Responsible Gaming." Industry Information. 2003. American Gaming Association. December 10, 2007.
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