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Risks And Challenges

There are some unique challenges, to those working in hospitality. For example, people working in hospitality and gaming venues are particularly at increased risk of gambling, drinking alcohol and using substances. These risks are described below:

Exposure to gambling, alcohol, and substances

Hospitality workers are exposed to people gambling and alcohol on a regular basis which can lead to the normalisation of gambling and drinking. Patrons often only discuss their wins, which may lead to the hospitality worker believing that they too can be lucky. At times they may believe to have a winning system or even personal skill and ability to gamble successfully. These beliefs can lead to workers gambling more frequently. This behaviour can be particularly harmful if hospitality workers become immersed in gambling and see it as an acceptable way to cope with emotions and stressors of their daily lives. Besides, gambling behaviours, drinking alcohol and substance use can also become normalised as – workers may see these behaviours as part of the culture of the hospitality industry.

Challenges of Hospitality Work

Working in hospitality can be incredibly stressful. The demands of seven-day rosters and shift work associated with hospitality work can limit the workers’ social life and impact on their wellbeing. Another difficult challenge is – Often a culture of drinking and gambling can begin to develop within hospitality workplaces. Additionally, dealing with difficult or distressed patrons and the expectations of adhering to legal requirements related to working within a gaming environment.

While some might say it is just a part of the job, what we do know and the evidence shows, workplace stress has detrimental effects on people and their family. As workplace stress builds, it is not uncommon for hospitality workers to experience an increase, in their mental distress, which can also impact their health. For example, poor sleep patterns, loss of appetite and a lack of interest in usual exercise routines. At times, these workers describe feeling ‘burnout’. Hospitality workplaces, inclusive of gaming venues, are environments shown to be particularly conducive of employee stress. These stressors can come in many forms, including:

Emotional Labour: Whether it is the stress of maintaining a ‘customer service’ face for an entire
shift, or having to keep calm when intervening with patrons, this kind of emotional labour can take a toll on mental health.     

Ethical Concerns: Trying to come up with a solution on the spot in stressful situations that weighs up
your legal and work responsibilities, and that of patrons’ wellbeing can be mentally exhausting.
For example, noticing someone may be drinking more than usual and continuing to gamble after
experiencing significant losses.

Patron Interactions: Patrons can become emotional if they are gambling more than they
planned. It may be confronting when these patrons are -expressing feelings of distress or anger.
Consoling these patrons can be difficult for the hospitality worker. Some workers may still be
processing their own emotions long after their shift finishes. These unresolved feelings that can
become a regular part of the hospitality work can build up and lead to despair and workplace
dissatisfaction. These are normal reactions when dealing with distressed patrons. It is important if you are experiencing these that you seek support. Our team can help you make sense of these emotions and develop healthy ways to improve your well-being working under these difficult expectations.

Legal Responsibilities: It can be challenging having to enforce the legal expectations of your role
especially with patrons who may become defensive and dismissive. These complicated interactions
can add to the emotional exhaustion you may be feeling. At these times, reaching out for
professional help is important. Please speak to one of our team who can help you develop some
strategies to deal with these expectations.

Shift Work:  Working long, continually changing roster through the day and night has been shown to
be particularly detrimental to physical and mental health. Learning how to schedule work-life balance can be challenging. We can help learn some simple strategies to help you feel more in control of these demanding workplace rosters.

Demanding Work Roles: The dinner time rush or closing after a big day, hospitality roles can be
physically exhausting, leaving the worker with little energy to keep on top of their mental health
wellbeing. Speak to one of our team who can help you make some simple changes to your routine to allow you to get on top of these demands.

Role Conflict: Sometimes balancing the duties of your role with your own personal values can be a

Role Ambiguity: At times, you may be unsure about where your role starts and where it
ends. Do you have obligations beyond your primary duties and feel overwhelmed? We can help you develop ways to have a meaningful conversation with your manager to feel more supported in your role.

Social facilitation: Being around alcohol and gambling can shift how people perceiving them. Sometimes perceptions can become unbalanced as these often excessive behaviours seem normal ,
and over time you may become complacent about the harms associated with these behaviours.

COVID-19: The ongoing changes for the hospitality industry related to COVID-19 have been a
challenge for all hospitality workers.

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If you are experiencing any of these emotions reach out to our team, we can offer you free and
confidential support or check out our app.