Casino Employee Perceptions of Gambling and Problem Gambling


  • Brett Abarbanel University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Sarah St. John University of Nevada, Las Vegas


Brett Abarbanel (University of Nevada, Las Vegas),
Bo Bernhard(University of Nevada, Las Vegas), 
Debi LaPlante(Cambridge Health Alliance, Harvard Medical School), and Sarah St. John (University of Nevada, Las Vegas)

Because gambling industry employees are at-risk for gambling-related problems (Hing & Breen, 2008; Hing & Gainsbury, 2011; LaPlante, Gray, LaBrie, Kleschinsky, & Shaffer, 2011; Shaffer & Hall, 2002; Wu & Wong, 2007), empirical attention is warranted. Accordingly, this research examined casino employees? Beliefs about what constitutes gambling and problem gambling by surveying new employees at a Las Vegas Strip casino prior to their responsible gambling orientation training. More specifically, we considered whether there were any associations apparent between employees? Gambling industry tenure or gambling frequency prior to survey, and their gambling-related beliefs. We hypothesized that pre-training employee who gamble more frequently and those new to the industry, would be less likely to accurately define gambling and problem gambling. We used ANOVA to compare cumulative gambling knowledge scores for different gambling frequency and tenure groups, and chi-square tests to look at group comparisons of knowledge of individual games and problem gambling indicators. We observed a significant relationship between employees? Tenure and their definition of sports betting (p = .043) and poker (p = .052) as Gambling Relative to new- or long-tenured employees, middle-tenured employees were more likely to report sports betting and poker are not gambling activities. Our analysis also showed a significant relationship between employees? Gambling frequency and their belief whether gambling is a problem when any gambling is done (p = .02), and whether gambling is a problem when someone loses money (p = .015). In both cases, employees who gamble less frequently are more likely than others to believe that gambling is a problem. These findings illustrate that not all new gambling industry employees are alike and specialized training might be necessary to ensure optimal responsible gambling knowledge within the industry workforce. By better understanding employees’ perceptions of gambling, training programs could target gaps in knowledge and understanding.