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Oct 19

Conference on problem gambling in the workplace

alna_logoAlna is a Swedish organization that works to prevent alcohol and drug harm in the workplace. In the past years, Alna has extended its preventive work to include also harm caused by problem gambling. Alna has since 1961 provided assistance to workplaces through a proactive model. The organization is jointly owned by the Swedish labor market parties.

On October 14, Alna organized a conference in Stockholm on gambling and problem gambling in the workplace. About 140 participants learned about and discussed topics such as Alna’s preventive work, internet gambling, problem gambling among young adults, computer gaming, and gambling-related embezzlement in the workplace (presented by me, an English version of the presentation is available here).

Alna’s work is important. Problem gambling can cause significant harm in the workplace, even if gambling takes place during leisure time. A problem gambler often experiences stress, anxiety, depression and psychosomatic symptoms. Work performance decreases. Severe problem gambling is characterized by a constant need of money for gambling, and for paying debts and overdue bills. This may lead to economic criminality, including embezzlement and theft in the workplace.

Although the unemployed are overrepresented among problem gamblers, the overwhelming majority of problem gamblers have paid work (e.g. the British Gambling Prevalence Survey 2010, p. 91). Thus, preventive efforts in the workplace have the potential to reach the majority of problem gamblers. Moreover, the workplace is crucial in the rehabilitation of those who have had serious gambling problems.

The conference coincided with the publication of a report about Alna’s work with preventing problem gambling in the workplace: Spelförebyggande insatser för arbetslivet (in Swedish). The report presents the “Alna model” of prevention and three specific Alna projects to implement it with regard to gambling. The report also includes a template for alcohol, drug and gambling workplace policy, as well as a section with practical advice to managers what to do in various scenarios of gambling and problem gambling in the workplace. I recommend the report to everyone with an interest in problem gambling, preventive work, and public health.

> Download Alna’s report Spelförebyggande insatser för arbetslivet
> Visit Alna’s website (in Swedish with an English summary)

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