Daily Archives: February 15, 2008

A new meaning for charitable gambling

An article published in the Weekend Herald out of New Zealand brings startling news. They point to research by BDO Kendalls, one of Australia’s leading accounting and business advisory firms, which indicates charities are losing millions of dollars to internal theft by staff to fund gambling addictions. The average amount stolen by staff was $180,643, almost five times higher than those who stole to maintain a certain lifestyle. They indicate that of the money stolen from charities 53% is for gambling, which is undeniably alarming. The Herald explains:

Problem Gambling Foundation CEO John Stansfield said he knew the figure would be high, but was shocked that gambling related fraud was hitting charities worse than the private sector.

“Effective charities are very dependent on trust,” he said. “The public and the funders need to have confidence that they are using funds wisely and clients need to feel the organisation (sic) helping them has integrity.” Mr. Stansfield said fraud and theft by employees undermined those relationships and posed a real threat to credibility and effectiveness for the whole non-profit sector.

Considering the countless examples of embezzlement and fraud that comes with expanded gambling, and the fact that the New England Journal of Medicine says that “pathological gambling is the fastest growing mental heath problem in the western world,” it would be no surprise if similar research found the exact same results here in America.

The results of this study should also give pause to legislators seeking to expand gambling and remove the Missouri Loss Limit. The consequences of removing the loss limit will be felt by a variety of citizens and even charitable organizations.