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Gambling Harm Prevention in Sport Review: White paper released

A select panel of player protection and welfare experts from the sporting, esports and gambling sectors have unveiled the collective steps that they believe need to be taken to reduce gambling-related harm and integrity issues in professional sports and esports, via the release of EPIC Risk Management’s new white paper at a high-profile Wembley Stadium summit.

The EPIC Risk Management Pro Sport Advisory Board (PSAB) is a collective drawn together from key sectors that can play a key role in taking action to prevent players, coaches, staff and match officials from gambling-related harm. Having first come together in October 2021, the results of their findings from 12 months of investigation and discussion into the subject were released on Wednesday 8th February at the Gambling Harm Prevention in Sport Summit, presented by EPIC Risk Management and UCFB’s Global Institute of Sport.

The various bodies put on the showcase event for around 100 top executives and welfare professionals from elite sport and esports, fusing a presentation on the findings from the ‘Gambling Harm Prevention in Sport Review’ white paper with lived experience stories and panel discussions from those who have previously been affected by gambling harm, either directly or as an ‘affected other’ – those who also suffer the consequences when gambling affects those close to them.

Drawn from institutions providing a global perspective, the members of the PSAB have used EPIC Risk Management’s inaugural white paper to put forward ten recommendations that all clubs, leagues, governing bodies and other membership-based groups from within the sports and esports sector can follow, ensuring that best practice is observed to advise players of the risks involved with various gambling activities and enshrined within the organisation’s ethos to ensure that betting integrity is observed by those who have the potential to influence outcomes.

The findings published via the white paper included a recommendation for safer gambling to be embedded into the culture of sports clubs, a call to ensure that safer gambling focus is at the heart of any new relationship between sporting institutions and gambling operators, and to urge gambling corporations and governing bodies to fund gaps in much-needed research into the effect of problem gambling on women’s elite level sport.

Please click here to read the full Gambling Harm Prevention in Sport Review white paper.

Ben McGregor, director of sports partnerships at EPIC Risk Management, has welcomed the release of the white paper, explaining:

“The Gambling Harm Prevention in Sport Review is the result of a year of key discussions from well-informed individuals and institutions who are taking proactive action to minimise the potential risks of gambling harm within their sectors, and therefore have experience to help advise others on recommendations to follow to avoid it affecting others.

“This white paper has been compiled by leading practitioners in player care and welfare from the world of professional sport and esports, as well as those with an intricate knowledge of the gambling industry and sporting integrity, so between them, their recommendations carry a lot of experienced credibility and we would strongly encourage fellow industry leaders to take the time to study the findings and decide how they can potentially benefit their own organisations.

“For the Pro Sport Advisory Board, the hard work doesn’t stop here. We will now seek to bring new voices to the collective where possible and seek to expand the markets and competitions we represent via its membership, so that we can continue to share best practice learnings, seek advice and adapt our offering to benefit even more sports people and their associated networks around the world.

“We extend our sincere thanks to the board for everything that they continue to do in support of others and look forward to seeing the extent of its research and reach grow exponentially in the years ahead as we seek to reduce gambling harm and sporting integrity issues for everyone’s benefit.”

Among the contributors to the white paper was Steve Emberson, head of integrity intelligence and education at London-based sports data and technology experts Genius Sports. He hopes that the findings will be a ‘springboard’ for better protection for all within the sports industry, explaining:

“The Pro Sport Advisory Board white paper has created a great starting point for conversation and change, within the sports world, in relation to gambling-related harm. Using the input from a wide range of experts within the field, the paper serves as a fantastic way of increasing awareness and understanding of an issue, that is seen but sometimes falls behind other priorities.

“From my own experience, the highlighting of the knock-on effects to breaches such as match-fixing and spot-fixing is crucial. Within my role, highlighting gambling-related harm as part of a sportsman or woman’s education is a crucial component.

“However, the paper will allow that conversation to extend past just sportsmen and women and transcend into topics such as, how sports governing bodies deal with those participants that suffer with gambling-related harm. It is imperative that all stakeholders continue to move forward in protecting their participants and I believe these recommendations and the white paper can serve as the springboard for this.

“As the Pro Sport Advisory Board continues this journey of raising awareness and providing recommendations where suitable, we look forward to hearing and seeing all feedback, questions and enquiries over the coming months and years.”

Integral to the creation of the white paper – which was prepared by EPIC Risk Management’s research manager Anca-Maria Gherghel, who holds a 1st Class Honours Degree in Football Business and Finance and is currently focusing a PhD study into problem gambling amongst professional female athletes in the UK – were the founding members of the Pro Sport Advisory Board. Click here to read more about the current board members.

Please click here to read the full Gambling Harm Prevention in Sport Review white paper.

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