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#PGAM2023: Regulatory Compliance

Our third weekly focus topic of Problem Gambling Awareness Month 2023 considers the potential consequences of breaking laws or regulations as a consequence of gambling-related harm, as our lived experience team share their thoughts on ‘Regulatory Compliance’.

Through a mixture of first hand experience or through learnings as part of the education sessions we deliver across the US, our team are acutely aware of the potential connection between problem gambling and regulatory compliance issues, something that organizations should be considering as a potential risk and putting appropriate safeguards in place where possible.

As two of our team in this week’s discussion have experienced, one of the ultimate penalties that you can pay for allowing problem gambling to dictate your behavior is a prison sentence, with actions they took in relation to acquiring funds to gamble meaning that both were found guilty of felonies.

In other examples, it could well be that an individual falls foul of internal regulations, with suspensions or dismissals being common outcomes of workplace misdemeanours.

In professional sports, one of the key high risk sectors in which we operate, the penalties can include lifelong suspensions if the gambling related harm overlaps with breaches of sporting regulations, such as trading insider information or wagering against your own team.

Our third video feature on focus topics is available to view now via our YouTube channel – click here to hear from Dan Trolaro, Patrick Chester and Liz Thielen, or read on for the transcripts of their thoughts….

Dan Trolaro: “My lived experience shows very clearly that if we do not have proper protocols, corporate culture, procedures in place, that an employee can go rogue, can make bad choices and bad decisions.

“In my case, I was using a company laptop. I wasn’t hiding the gambling. I had a company issued laptop that I was using to place bets, to research bets, to handicap. Everything was done on the company laptop. I wasn’t going to use the home computer because I didn’t want my wife at the time to find anything out. I didn’t even think about the company laptop, and now that I think about it, there should have been firewalls in place.

“That should have raised the flag when I was missing company mandatory meetings for excuse after excuse. That should have been a red flag, using corporate issued property to place bets.

“You can also have some additional checks and balances in terms of having financial planners accept checks from customers. That process in itself can change. And now with digital transactions, digital payments that can be handled differently. There were a lot of holes that I was able to navigate through and manipulate the system, because a person with an addiction will find those areas of weakness and try to take advantage of them.

“Often you find credit card processors, financial services organizations, doing credit checks on would be gamblers or existing gamblers. How many credit cards are being issued under someone’s social security number or is there fraud going on? Is there risk going on here? Integrity issues.

“So we have to be working with the industry to make sure that we’re spotting markers of harm, keeping individuals safe, and identifying what best practices would be for safe and sustainable gambling.”

Patrick Chester: “I was going to do whatever I had to do to get my bets in, and I would take whatever means it took to get that money to those different outlets to do that. You know, consequences be damned, right?

“The consequences or ramifications of doing any of this were never, never entering my thinking. It was just all about ‘how do I get money to gamble?’ and any sort of ramifications from that, legal or otherwise, never entered the thinking.”

Liz Thielen (main picture): “You have a group of people who are very driven, very impulsive sometimes and the stakes are so high.

“So if you have an athlete that loses their career, for example, due to gambling, that’s just absolutely devastating.”

Our fourth and final weekly topic for #PGAM2023 will be next week’s feature on ‘Culture of Care, Welfare, Conscience’, which gets to the heart of the matter as to why organizations should make gambling harm prevention a serious consideration for the people within their team from a moral and compassionate viewpoint.

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