According to one workplace relations specialist online gambling in the workplace should be banned just like smoking. A huge increase in gambling opportunities including gambling on social media sites like Facebook have led to experts warning businesses that they must develop IT and social media policies to prevent gambling in the workplace. Gaming specialists say that both employers and workers need to be protected and that in some workplaces a gambling ban is a matter of safety.
In Australia the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation is addressing the problem and is offering workers education and training programs designed to reduce the risk of developing a gambling problem or addiction. The agency is offering the educational programs as part of its occupational health and safety policies. Gambling in the workplace has never been easier or more convenient. Some employers have IT programs in place that block access to gambling sites but fail to address real money gambling on social media websites. One prominent magazine ran a full page ad explaining how it only takes a few minutes to set up a gambling account and fund it with a credit card.
Many large companies have social media policies that explain the appropriate use of these websites to employees. In general few social media policies address gambling specifically. Holding Redlich senior associate and workplace relations specialist Joel Zyngier believes it is time to ban gambling using company time and equipment. Zyngier stated ”Due to the increased trend of gambling via social media, it is clear that unacceptable behaviour must include using an employer’s resources to engage in gambling via social media. As far as I am aware it [gambling] is not being looked at, at least to the same extent, that pornography or race-hate sites are being looked at. An employer’s duty under OH&S law is to do everything it practically can to eliminate or minimize risks to health and safety in the workplace. Unfettered access to the internet coupled with knowledge that employees have the potential to cause themselves harm by gambling, may trigger an employer’s OH&S duty.”
In some cases an employer could be held liable if an employee developed a serious gambling addiction. Fortunately most employees do not gamble on company time. Online bingo players may enjoy an occasional game on their mobile devices during lunch and other breaks. In today’s economy few workers are willing to put their jobs at risk. What an employee does on their own time is their business unless it affects work performance. Since most online bingo players are hard core gamblers it is highly unlikely they would violate any workplace gambling bans in the first place.