Office Gambling Is Unethical

“If the stakes are high, the result of the pool could create disharmony in the workplace, and the problems could escalate,” says employment law expert B. The law is an important first step in deciding what we should do and why we should do it. In other words, in some states, office pools are illegal. The same goes for talking politics at work , having sex, drinking single malt whisky, surfing the Web for bargains, or yakking with friends on our smartphones.

Because pool participants risk violating the law, the rules they have agreed to when they accepted their jobs, or both, the games are of questionable value. For all of the problems in the legal system, it is hard to imagine that a civilized society could survive for long without laws and the serious consequences of failing to honor them.

Arguments about ethics are not entirely dependent on what the law, public policy, and corporate rules and regulations happen to be. David Joffe of the law firm Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP.

My argument that it is wrong to participate in office pools is not based on the ethics of gambling as such. But it’s ethically intelligent to draw the line between fun that’s appropriate in the workplace and good times that are better had elsewhere. If you’re on the job, it’s just as questionable to spend 45 minutes debating the Cartesian mind-body distinction as it is to play your favorite game app for that long. After all, Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling of Enron thought it was perfectly fine to play with employee pension funds as if they were Monopoly money, but no one today is saying that their leadership roles made what they did O.K. Whether either activity is your cup of tea is up to you; what isn’t up for grabs is the propriety of doing either at work for a significant amount of time.

But before you conclude that office pools have few legal consequences, consider this: Some employees, including those at the management level, have been fired (and in at least one case, arrested) for participating in these games, on the grounds the practice was either illegal or in violation of company policy.

But what about the folks who just place their bets and get back to work–what’s the problem there? Let’s look at some frequently marshaled defenses of office pools and why these claims are mistaken.

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. An action can be legal but wrong, or it can be illegal but ethically required. Most people lose. Before doing so, I must emphasize that I am not an attorney, and nothing in this blog should be considered legal advice. But they can violate corporate policies and the law.

March Madness office pools involving cash are common, exciting, and potentially lucrative. “The CEO allows or encourages it.” This is, quite frankly, a cop-out. In the right social setting, gambling is a fun way to spend some time and, one hopes, not too much money (provided one does not have an addiction to gambling). Some stakeholders may have religious objections to it. One would like to believe that laws, regulations, and policies are always based on what is right, but we know that too often they are shaped by special interests, outdated beliefs, or pure and simple prejudice. A few win.

If even a small percentage of customers, board members, and shareholders is likely to be troubled by the practice of on-site betting, that alone is sufficient cause for concern. Based on my research, however, I’ve discovered the legality of office pools in which employees bet cash on professional or college sports teams varies from state to state. For any law or policy, we can and should ask: “Is it right? Is it fair? Is it just?”

When examining the propriety of office pools, it is thus important to look at the relevant law. Yes, roulette has terrible odds, but I like the quiet atmosphere and the fact that there is absolutely no skill involved.

This is not a call to civil disobedience, however. “Office pools build morale and camaraderie.” Next to the thrill of winning, this is the most popular justification for office pools. Betting money on sports (or the Oscars, or anything else) falls in the latter category. A third group may simply view gambling on the job as unseemly. It’s called a workplace for a reason: It’s the place where we’re supposed to work. “Companies are fighting like mad to bring people together, and office pools are a great way to stimulate watercooler conversations,” said John Challenger, chief executive of Challenger Gray & Christmas, to The Business Review in Albany, N.Y., in 2002. Some of the best moments in our lives occur at work with close colleagues. “It’s harmless fun.” At the beginning of March Madness, you kick in a few dollars, then follow your team over the coming weeks and months. It’s quite another to have a shouting match about something that has nothing to do with one’s job.

The office, however, simply isn’t an appropriate place for gambling. It’s one thing to have a heated discussion about a project on which you and a colleague are working. But there are lots of stimulating things to talk about that just don’t belong at work.

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The issue isn’t whether a particular activity is high- or lowbrow. For example, we are legally required to file a federal tax return each year, so anyone who wishes to be a citizen in good standing (or at least not to become a member of the prison population) wisely chooses to pay his or her taxes. Yes, it is true that these laws are rarely enforced, and yes, it makes sense for police to investigate homicides, bank robberies, sexual assaults, and other serious crimes before they pursue rumors that employees in the local coffee shop are betting on the Louisville Cardinals over the Kansas Jayhawks.

1. Others might be concerned that employees will not give their full attention to their work. But this isn’t the main reason we shouldn’t place bets at work.

The High Cost of Low Living

2. The fact that the head of an organization sanctions a practice says little or nothing about whether the practice is justifiable or not. What’s the harm in that? Even if there happens to be no legal or policy issues at stake, the harm has to do with how stakeholders would view the business if on-the-job gambling activities were revealed. Even where they are legal and not in violation of company protocol, however, they’re ethically unintelligent, and we shouldn’t participate in them.

3. Whatever the objections are, they deserve to be taken seriously.

Bottom line: The workplace shouldn’t be a joyless Orwellian nightmare. When David Frost asked former President Richard Nixon in 1977 if it is acceptable for a President to do something illegal, Nixon replied, “Well, when the President does it, that means that it is not illegal.” Nixon was mistaken, and so is any corporate leader who believes that “if I say it’s all right, then it must be all right.”

A slightly different version of this article was published originally on Bloomberg Businessweek Online.

Besides, winning a sporting event is extremely important to some of us, and arguments about sports can out of hand. Things that interfere with doing our jobs well should be done before or after work. When I’m in Las Vegas — to give talks on, of all things, ethics — I usually make time for the roulette tables

A gambling addiction story. – CNN iReport

I have had a number of addictions.  Food and exercise addictions made me miserable for a time, but gambling swept me off my feet.  I started with slot machines and after three months I was gambling away my rent money, and I was unable to stop. I went to see a psychiatrist, following my brother’s advice. When I came out of jail, I had justifiably lost custody of my twelve year old son, and all I owned were a couple of sets of clothes.  For the first six months, I was under house arrest so, I was not allowed to work. I was also ordered to attend counselling which I did once per week. I never regained custody of my son, but I have seen him almost every week-end since my release from jail.  Him and I have a wonderful relationship and I thank God everyday for letting him be in my life.  The change in my life happened because once I was done destroying myself and everything around me, my son said he still loved me.  I guess because my illness, I felt that I had to test him. Sometimes I think that If I was run over by a semi and my son walked in front of me, I would then pull myself together and walk.. And now, at the age of nineteen, my son says that what he admires about me is that I never give up. So I found out, prison, insanity and, or death is real.  While in jail,  I was sent for a psychiatric assesment where I was diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder, a form of neurosis.  I spent three months in the Remand Centre, and I was given a two years conditional sentence,  during its duration I had to stay with my family or go back to jail.  The sentence was light probably because I didn’t have a gun or any other weapon of any sort. He gave me Paxil, and the only improvement was that I didn’t care how much money I lost.  In ten years, I went to Gamblers Anonimous twice but, looking back I wasn’t ready to do what the program asked of me. I joined a pentecostal church, and I attended service every Sunday.  I was also sent to Gambler’s Anonimous and I was allowed to attend 1 meeting per week.  Amazing, in spite of the consequences, I still suffered serious gambling urges until I went through step 4 and 5 for the second time.  Following the first year of my sentence, I was allowed to return to school, and I took an Office Assistance program.  I actually  finished the program and got a 1 year certificate.  I recently celebrated my seven year birthday in G.A. At the end of the ten years, I had quit University, quit a job because I couldn’t handle cash, lost a few cars, started two abusive relationship because I was afraid of being alone, attempted suicide twice and failed.  At the end, I was arrested and charged for 1 armed robbery and 1 attempted

Six Things You Should Never Do at a Casino by Jeff Albert

Don’t stick around at a cold craps table. First, you’re dropping probably 20-50 bucks in the time you wait for the waitress to return. Don’t play if you’ve been drinking. But, dealers are trained to make you have fun and have a good time – and to make sure you keep spending money. Better yet, look up strategies on games like blackjack and roulette before going (You’ll find a great interactive one here for online blackjack).

3. Don’t ever believe the drinks are free. Gambling is like any other sport – best done when sober, possibly dangerous when not.

2. Don’t play without your player’s card. Read on for a list of the top ten things you should never do at an offline casino:

4. Call it superstition, call it whatever you like, but I’ve tried various craps strategies and the only sure fire thing I’ve seen happen every time I’ve played is that when the table goes “cold” (a term used to mean it starts losing a lot), it stays cold. Remember that almost all Casino’s have players cards which keep track of how much you gamble. House rules are the rules the casino has to play by (such as you should never split Kings in blackjack) and they’ve spent thousands of dollars deciding what gives them the best edge. Nothing brings a fanny pack back in style faster than sitting in front of a slot machine looking for somewhere to stick your purse.

5. They may offer you “friendly advice” – but before you take any of it, ask them what the “house” would do in the same situation. If you’re a woman, never carry a purse. By far, some of the biggest losses I’ve seen (and incurred myself) were after the player had downed a few drinks. contribute to gaining points, but even smaller gamblers can usually score a “free” lunch after a weekend of gambling (see #1).

1. But, I soon found the thrill. I’m by no means a gambling addict, but I have come to love the “sport” and I’ve learn a bit about playing in a Casino along the way. So, a house rule is usually a good one. 6. If a craps table has a hot run and a few sevens in a row come out afterwards, pick up your chips and find a new table or grab some lunch.

If you’re a regular at casinos or are planning your first trip, check out this list of the top six things you should never do at an offline casino.

. Granted, the casinos aren’t supposed to allow obviously intoxicated customers play – but your definition or drunk and they’re definition of “obviously intoxicated” may not be the same. Don’t listen to the dealer in most cases unless he precedes his statement with “house rules”. The first time I ever went to a casino, the whole thing seemed a little intimidating. Then add her tip, usually a dollar, or she won’t be returning to see if you need a refill any time soon.

I never thought gambling could be so fun. A variation of things such as money spent per hand, time spent gambling throughout a day, etc