Gambling-Related Employee Embezzlement: A Study of Swedish Newspaper Reports (full text)

Binde, P.

It is well-known that severe problem gambling may lead to economic crime. This study explored a particular type of such criminality: embezzlement committed by problem gamblers in the workplace. The aim was to gain knowledge about the extent of such criminality in Sweden and the sums of money involved. The method used was a media study of newspaper reports, complemented with information about help-seeking problem gamblers obtained in interviews with therapists specializing in problem gambling and with peer counsellors in mutual support societies of problem gamblers. The results showed that gambling-related embezzlement occurs in all branches of the economy where employees have access to money. The sums embezzled can be huge and the crimes sustained over several years. However, this varies across professional categories, with bank managers embezzling larger sums of money than others, and for longer, before being detected. Although Swedish newspapers report on average about one case a month of gambling-related employee embezzlement, the true prevalence is likely to be at least 10 times higher. More efforts should be made to prevent embezzlement and other gambling-related harms in the workplace.

Binde, P. (2016). Gambling-Related Employee Embezzlement: A Study of Swedish Newspaper Reports. Journal of Gambling Issues, xx–xx. https://doi.org/10.4309/jgi.2016.34.4

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Gambling-related embezzlement in the workplace: a qualitative study – open access

Binde, P. (2016).

People with severe gambling problems typically first spend all their available money on gambling and then resort to borrowing, selling personal property and other ways of procuring more money for gambling. Some problem gamblers commit economic crimes. This investigation examined gambling-related embezzlement in the workplace, an aspect of problem gambling that may severely harm the gambler, significant others and the employer. The methods used are the study of newspaper articles and qualitative interviews with 18 informants, including professionals in workplace security and drug-use prevention, therapists specializing in problem gambling treatment, counsellors from mutual support societies, and recovered problem gamblers who had embezzled. Gambling-related embezzlement often progresses in a characteristic sequence shaped by specific processes in which the gambler’s thoughts and emotions interact systemically with the monetary losses caused by participating in commercial gambling and the opportunity to embezzle money in the workplace. In this study, criminological theory of white collar crime usefully complemented psychological theories of problem gambling. It is concluded that a processual perspective, in addition to consideration of psychological and environmental factors, is valuable for understanding the progression to severe problem gambling.

Binde, P. (2016). Gambling-related embezzlement in the workplace: a qualitative study. International Gambling Studies, 0(0), 1–17. http://doi.org/10.1080/14459795.2016.1214165