Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Barring Casino Employees From Gambling in Casinos....Is it Fair....and what's the Real Motive for Casinos doing so?

Is that an after-work bet?
Many casino jurisdictions have regulations that prohibit casino employees from gambling in the casinos they work at. Some jurisdictions also prohibit casino employees from gambling in nearby casinos. Others, to the best of my knowledge, have statewide or even countrywide restrictions on casino employees gambling in casinos.

And many of these prohibitions pertain to casino employees who do not work on the casino floor.

Presently in Macau, a huge gambling mecca that is strife with insider casino-employee scams that take millions of dollars out of the casinos there, we are hearing of proposed regulation that would bar all casino workers from entering any Macau casino outside of work hours and training hours. The bill would institute fines of up to more than US $1,000 to those workers caught illegally entering casinos.

Before talking about whether or not this is fair, let's examine casinos' motives for imposing this type of legislation.

And we're not just talking about Macau.

On the surface, there is always the claim that casinos are proposing employee-gambling-bans to prevent problem gambling among their employees. The rational is that people who work around gambling and then spend their time-off around gambling are perhaps more likely to develop a gambling addiction than those people whose work has nothing to do with casinos.

Is this true?

Well, I can draw an opinion from my own experiences as a casino dealer.

Yes, I was a casino dealer for one year back in the '70s in Las Vegas. I dealt in two Downtown casinos. I can tell you that I remember several dealers who could be constantly found in neighboring Downtown casinos blowing their tokes away. The problem seemed to be most prevalent with dealers working the swing shift. They would spend the early wee hours drinking and gambling at the tables rather than doing the same at bars and nightclubs. We mustn't forget that in Vegas and many gambling areas, casino workers are exposed to gambling via slot machines and other forms of electronic gaming in bars, Laundromats and food stores, so it might not be just the casinos causing the problem but the whole jurisdiction in and by itself.

One of these after-work-gambling dealers I knew ended up committing suicide, although I cannot say if problem gambling had anything to do with it.

All in all, I do believe that casino employees, especially those who work on the casino floor, are more susceptible to developing gambling problems if they are exposed to gambling and partake in it outside the casino workplace.

The more ulterior motive for casinos supporting these bans might be more to protect their bankrolls than out of genuine worry for their employees. They know all too well that dealers and floormen who gamble and develop gambling problems are very vulnerable to being coaxed into committing cheat scams against their casinos by other employees or by customers who get to know these gambling dealers and become aware of their degenerative gambling habits--and their gambling-induced financial problems.

This happens all the time around baccarat tables worldwide. I would say that a huge percentage of all baccarat dealers who've participated in inside baccarat scams with players at their games had already developed a serious gambling problem that propelled them to do it. Of course greed also plays a role but greed in itself is not usually enough to get honest dealers to fall over the edge.

So my opinion is that casinos cannot be faulted for wanting to protect their assets by restricting their employees' access to casino gambling.

That said, is that restriction fair?

Of course it's not fair!

It's no more fair than restricting bartenders' rights to drink in bars other than the ones they work at, in the objective to prevent their becoming alcoholics. I realize that analogy might not be perfect, so in spite of that, the casino-employee-gambling ban is unfair for other reasons.

The main reason it's unfair is because it's unconstitutional. The deprivation of rights to spend one's free time as one pleases is a violation of constitutional rights. All casino employees, just like everyone else who works for a living, should not have their employers impose restrictions as to how they spend their leisure time--and their money. All people working in casinos are adults and therefore capable of choosing whether or not they want to gamble, regardless of the negative and disruptive forces uncontrolled and reckless gambling can produce.

However, I will make one exception to my opinion: I think that casinos should have the right to bar their employees from gambling in the casinos they work at. But should that stretch to non-gaming-floor employees?

I'll let you decide.