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Gambling-Related Employee Embezzlement: A Study of Swedish Newspaper Reports

Binde, Per
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    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.On sait que le jeu problEmatique grave peut mener A la criminalitE Economique. Cette Etude porte sur un aspect particulier de ce type de criminalitE, soit le dEtournement commis par des joueurs problEmatiques dans leur milieu de travail. Elle vise A Etablir l'Etendue de cette criminalitE en SuEde et les sommes d'argent en cause. A cette fin, on a effectuE une analyse mEdia des articles de journaux ainsi que des renseignements sur les joueurs problEmatiques ayant demandE de l'aide recueillis dans des entrevues avec des thErapeutes spEcialisEs en jeu problEmatique et avec des pairs-conseillers de groupes de soutien pour les joueurs problEmatiques. Il a EtE constatE que le dEtournement liE au jeu problEmatique se produit dans tous les secteurs de l'Economie oU les employEs ont accEs A l'argent. Les sommes dEtournEes peuvent Etre considErables et les crimes, se perpEtrer sur plusieurs annEes. La situation varie toutefois selon la catEgorie des professions, les directeurs de banque dEtournant des sommes plus ElevEes que les autres, et pendant de plus longues pEriodes, avant d'Etre dEcouverts. Bien que les journaux suEdois ne rapportent en moyenne qu'un cas de dEtournement par un employE joueur pathologique par mois, cette Etude laisse entendre que la prEvalence rEelle est probablement dix fois plus ElevEe. Il est conclu que plus d'efforts doivent Etre faits pour prEvenir le dEtournement et les autres dommages liEs au jeu dans le milieu de travail.


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