Via a collaboration with EPIC Risk Management and Entain Foundation US, Entain plc’s non-profit safer gambling and sports credibility affiliate, the Chicago Fire FC of Major League Soccer (MLS) became the first US soccer club to bring problem gambling and gaming awareness workshops to teams throughout the organisation.
Epic Risk Management workshops
The Chicago Fire’s U-13s and U-19s, as well as the first team, will participate in Epic Risk Management workshops. Each session will be geared to the club’s diverse demographic and age demographics, and will address topics such as problem gaming, disordered gambling, and sports betting honesty.
The sessions will begin in May and run through 2021, with the aim of providing ongoing support through Chicago Fire’s Performance, Advisory, and Support Services (PASS) network. Due to COVID-19, sessions will be held via videoconference and will transition to in-person sessions as soon as it is safe to do so.
Taking a proactive approach
According to Brian Roberts, Director of PASS at Chicago Fire FC: “We know that young athletes are at greater risk of being affected by problematic gaming and gambling, and we recognise the need to take a proactive approach to educating our players and parents on these risks.
“The real-life stories that EPIC Risk Management use in their educational sessions brings focus to gambling in a way that will have a true impact and will provide our Academy players with the understanding needed to make informed decisions. We are excited to work with an organisation open to customizing an approach to educating our Academy players.”
EPIC Risk Management’s VP of US Operations, John Millington, added: “We are delighted to be able to work closely with Chicago Fire and their Performance, Advisory, and Support Services staff to customise our program to integrate into their existing PASS Education.
‘Key strategic piece of our prevention pillar’
“Our collaboration with the Entain Foundation US represents a key strategic piece of our prevention pillar. It is essential that professional sports teams and leagues recognise a collective responsibility to educate their players, staff, and their fan base, and we are delighted Chicago Fire have proactively embraced the importance of integrating this market leading education into their existing programs. I hope many more teams will follow their lead.”
Entain plc’s SVP for American Regulatory Affairs and Responsible Gambling, and trustee of the Entain Foundation US, Martin Lycka said: “This new partnership among Chicago Fire FC, EPIC Risk Management and the Entain Foundation US is another important milestone in promoting player protection and responsible gambling – a top priority of our Foundation. I am proud to affiliate our Foundation in the US with these two outstanding partners.”
EPIC Risk Management and the Entain Foundation US have collaborated on studies into elite athletes’ associations with problematic gambling activities with the NFLPA Professional Athletes Foundation, universities across the United States, and the Division on Addiction at Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital, to date.