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Dominic Matteo signs for EPIC

A top signing for gambling harm prevention specialists EPIC Global Solutions sees former Premier League and Scotland international soccer star Dominic Matteo joining the organization, to strengthen their squad of lived experience facilitators who educate audiences on the potential dangers associated with betting.

Famed for his top-flight spells with Liverpool, Leeds United and Blackburn Rovers, as well as being capped six times by his country, Matteo’s on-pitch success has contrasted with difficulties off the field, with addiction to gambling preceding him being declared bankrupt, and more recently being diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2019, from which he is continuing to make a successful recovery.

Matteo’s new role as a program facilitator with EPIC will see him engage with leading sports professionals across a wide range of partnership agreements held by the company, including likely engagement with EFL and SPFL football clubs, Premiership Rugby teams and elite trainers and owners from the world of British horse racing.

During education sessions with each of those groups, he will explain the detrimental effect that problem gambling had on him and those closest to him, continuing EPIC’s mission to use lived experience as a method of educating others on the potential outcomes of gambling-related issues in order to mitigate against the problem.

Speaking about the new opportunity, Matteo – who admitted in his autobiography that he lost more than £1m (c. $1.25m) to gambling – explained:

“Having had issues with gambling, it’s something that I’m very, very passionate about, so to receive the call from EPIC was lovely news. Everyone at EPIC knows what they want to do in order to prevent gambling-related harm and it’s important that we keep doing that to make it a better place for everyone.

“I will be trying to help as many people as I can who are in a similar position to what I was in. I fell down that trap and I don’t want it to happen to anyone else.

“I’m excited at heading back to the training grounds because I understand what a locker room is like and it’s very important that we get the word across. As a younger player, there wasn’t really that much information around about gambling, so getting my voice across to help people who think they haven’t got a problem, and preventing it before it does become a problem, is key for me.

“Hopefully my wife Jess [pictured below with Dominic] will be involved as well, accompanying me to the sessions, so that people get to understand it from her perspective too. When I was gambling, I would tell her that I didn’t have a problem and she would try to tell me that I did, but I wouldn’t listen, because as footballers you can be stubborn and think you can control everything yourself. It’s vital that you get support from your family and friends and we’ll be urging people to listen to that.”

Paul Buck, CEO at EPIC Global Solutions, welcomed the high-profile appointment to the team, adding:

“Dominic Matteo is someone who commanded respect in some of the UK’s most revered locker rooms, and we’re delighted that he’ll now be speaking face-to-face with the new occupants of those locations via his new role with EPIC.

“It’s clear that he has quite a remarkable story to share about how gambling started to take a hold on his life during his playing career and then had such challenging consequences for him in retirement.

“Both he and his wife Jess, who will be accompanying Dominic to each session, have clearly been through a lot together, so we’re expecting that his talks with some of the country’s best-known sports stars will be very impactful in sharing our core message about the risks that problem gambling can bring.”

EPIC Global Solutions deliver education, training and consultancy on gambling-related harm to iconic sports teams and organizations around the world, with recent examples including the MLB, MLSPA, NFLA PAF and NCAA in the US, and European sessions including clubs from the Jupiler Pro League in Belgium and top rugby clubs in the Republic of Ireland.

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