Players and staff at Rangers FC will take part in groundbreaking, independent gambling education sessions, delivered by EPIC Risk Management and designed especially for top-level sportspeople, with the aim of facilitating a healthy relationship with the sector.
This is the first time a club in the Scottish Premiership has worked with a company such as EPIC to properly provide independent gambling guidance to their employees – and follows EPIC’s work in the EFL and other leagues across the world.
Sessions will be bespoke, tailored to individual needs, featuring insights from former players who have experienced gambling-related issues, including some who have played at international level.
The men’s first team, B-team and women’s teams will participate. Selected academy cohorts will take part separately.
Funding for the project comes from club sponsor Kindred, whose brands include 32Red and Unibet. This year marks 10 years of collaboration between Kindred and Rangers. This year, the company has dedicated its front-of-shirt sponsorship to its ‘Zero % Mission’ – its stated aim to remove revenue stemming from harmful gambling.
Michelle Evans, EPIC’s senior sports partnerships manager, who has extensive experience of working with leading Scottish footballers during a career that has included roles across player welfare and communications, explained:
“Education is at the heart of EPIC’s offering, underpinned by real-life experiences from those who have lived experience of gambling-related harm.
“We recognise the importance of the sector to the UK’s leisure industry, and we’re dedicated to providing a bespoke, holistic service that allows participants to share and discuss matters in a safe way.
“We’re delighted that Rangers are the latest high-profile football club to recognise the importance of protecting their players and staff through preventative education, adding to our work across several leading clubs and competitions in world football, rugby union, American football and the iconic NCAA college network in the US.”
Karim Virani, chief commercial officer at Rangers FC said:
“We realise the importance of safeguarding our players and staff, and allowing them to discuss issues relating to the sector in a welcoming and understanding environment. That the sessions are led by former players is a big advantage, going beyond discussing the rule book and adding that key element of relatability.
“We’re grateful to Kindred – with whom we have a positive, long-term relationship – for funding the sessions that are helping us lead the way in Scotland on this matter.”
Sam Mead, UK general manager, Kindred Group, added:
“Kindred wants to run a sustainable business built on people enjoying themselves safely. That’s why we have reaffirmed our commitment not only to this project with Rangers, but also to our ‘Journey towards Zero’.
“Added to that, we are investing significantly in our technology stack to further develop our sophisticated detection software. This, allied with a greater emphasis on education and safer gambling messaging, will help Kindred drive forward its industry-leading model of sponsorship that is benefitting clubs and their communities.”