A new report released today (Wednesday, April 13) has found over a third of working adults in the North East who gamble would like to hide it from their colleagues at work.
It is the highest region in England, with 35 per cent of people who gamble wanting to keep it a secret.
The report into gambling released by Reed in Partnership today (Wednesday, April 13) also revealed that more than the half (57 per cent) of the population in the North East have gambled in the last 12 months.
This makes it the highest region in Great Britain for people gambling in the last 12 months.
The North East is also the highest region in England with over a quarter (26 per cent) of people gambling in the last week.
Martin Fallon, managing director of Reed in Partnership, said: “It’s important that we provide adequate support and guidance for those who are at risk of losing their jobs because of gambling, and those whose addiction is stopping them from getting back into the workplace.
“At the same time Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, which are particularly attractive to the unemployed, have such high limits that you could lose one month’s worth of Job Seeker’s Allowance in less than one minute.”
The report has called for businesses to take more action to support staff who may struggle with problem gambling and for employment support programmes to do more to identify the early signs of gambling addiction.
Reed in Partnership also conducted interviews with their employment advisers who provide one-to-one and small group advice to those who are out of work.
They reported that many young men, including those with learning difficulties, talk openly about losing while gambling.
Gambling is having an impact on the UK economy with three per cent of adults knowing someone who has lost their jobs as a result of problem gambling.
Many who are out of work are unable to get a job because of their compulsive behaviour or because they cannot afford the cost of travelling to an interview or buying work clothes.
One of Reed in Partnership’s employment advisers, who works with the long term unemployed, said: “Jobseekers already struggle when on JSA to make ends meet and by gambling they are entering a vicious circle which can be hard to break and cause debt, black listing or even crime.”
The unemployed are twice as likely to use controversial Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, which is one of the major growth areas for high street betting shops, as those who are in work.
With an estimated 35,000 machines across the UK, bets of up to £100 can be placed every 20 seconds, meaning a problem gambler could lose up to £1,500 in just five minutes.
The report has also called on businesses to have strict workplace gambling policies, with risks to finances and addressing the detrimental impact on employees’ wellbeing.
This could include better information in the work place so that employees can recognise if they or one of their colleagues is at the early stages of becoming a problem gambler.
Reed in Partnership, which provides advice training and guidance to the unemployed, is looking at how more can be done to identify those at risk of developing a gambling problem through a diagnostic tool known as the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) and then providing advice and signposting to appropriate services.