November 19th 2013 was a key day in the life of EPIC founder and CEO Paul Buck, with his decision to start life as a sole trader that day sowing the seed for EPIC Risk Management to grow into the global leader in gambling harm prevention that we know today.
Having faced the need to restart his career after the destructive impact of a pathological gambling disorder, a plan that had been a year in the making came to life that day, and ten years on, has become an incredibly impactful and socially driven company, with activities taking place in 28 different countries.
As a result, we’ll be spending the next four weeks commemorating a decade of achievements around the world, hearing from the people who have helped to make it happen both inside and outside the company, culminating in a special event on Tuesday 12th December to round off the past achievements and launch our vision for the years ahead.
To start our first week of coverage, looking into the genesis of the company, there is obviously no better person to pick up the story than Paul Buck himself.
Reflecting on the launch of a business that he’d been planning for around a year before it eventually became a reality in November 2013, he recalls:
“The real big decision was where do you do it, how do you do it, and who do you do it with? Many thoughts went through my mind. I’m from Preston, so do you do Manchester and Liverpool and the places around Lancashire, or work with charities and so on, or do you actually go where most harm exists statistically and evidentially?
“There seemed to be six sectors that I thought of at the time that seemed to have the most problems when you studied it: armed forces, criminal justice, financial services, professional sport and education of kids – as there seemed to be kids gambling, which was crazy – and then the gambling industry itself. There, you’ve got the six sectors, statistically and evidentiary where most gambling harm exists.
“That’s where I decided to do it, in for a penny, in for a pound… you either do it properly or you don’t do it at all.”
Initially, Paul was working hard as a one man band to bring the idea to life, but a key contract and the arrival of the first additional staff into the business were the catalyst towards the modern day organisation. He continued:
“It wasn’t easy for the first two or three years; I was living off social impact grants, trying to find people who would support the business and so on. However, we got to 2016, after two or three years of really scratching around trying to provide for the family and so on, and then since 2016, after a first contract with the Rugby Players Association, it has literally grown and grown and grown and snowballed.
“The amount of people we help now and the amount of addictions I believe that we prevent is incredibly gratifying.
“Obviously it’s not just ‘the Paul Buck show’ anymore. We’ve worked in 28 countries. We’ve now got 45 people, 25 of those are people who have really suffered those most serious addictions.
“I think that’s one of the things I’m most proud of, giving people that platform, or those second chances. These aren’t bad people; these are people who have suffered the consequences of being addicted to gambling very much like I was.
“The quality of the people we’ve got in our lived experience population and the people who haven’t got direct lived experience, I think is incredible, and it’s a very, very socially driven and passionate company.”
Please stay closely tuned to our social media platforms over the coming month for more insight from people close to EPIC as they explain the impact that the company has had on their own lives or organisations, as we recap some memorable achievements in our mission to take the harm out of gambling.
We also wish to extend a huge sense of gratitude and thanks to everyone who has played their part in the transformation of EPIC over the course of the past ten years and look forward to recognising all of those contributions throughout our period of celebration.