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One Year at EPIC: Dan Spencer Q&A

EPIC Risk Management’s Head of Safer Gambling, Dan Spencer, is celebrating his first anniversary with the organisation today.

Having lived with a gambling addiction for 16 years, Dan found recovery in January 2018 and now uses his experiences to help our clients bring to life the true impact behind problematic gambling.

Dan’s wealth of knowledge in learning and development as well as lived experience of gambling-related harm has seen him excel in his maiden year at EPIC Risk Management.

EPIC caught up with Dan on his work anniversary:

EPIC: Congratulations on one-year at EPIC Risk Management, Dan. How are you feeling celebrating this milestone today?

DS: Thanks, it’s flown by! It was a very strange time to start a new job as it was 2 weeks before the country locked down at the start of the pandemic. I would say the overall feeling is of achievement, we’ve been through a lot this year as everyone has but EPIC has gone from strength to strength, and it’s felt really good be a part of that. It was a big decision to leave my 15-year career in food retail to come and work in the gambling sector, but I knew it was something I had to do. As a former problem gambler, myself, I had a strong desire to give back and knew that I could make a worthy contribution. I didn’t know it would be in the gambling sector but I’m so glad because the impact we have is incredible and I’m happy to be some much-needed authenticity to training within the industry,

EPIC: What have you observed in your first twelve-months in the sphere of problem gambling?

DS: The speed of change in the industry right now is astonishing, when you think back 12 months and see the new measures in place even before the gambling act review has taken place, you can really see the trajectory and improvements. We know that everybody is not on the same journey and regulation will help this. There are big improvements to make, and we are here to help that improvement. So many operators want to change and are fighting to be the best in the safer gambling world, what we get to do is come along and show them how. I’ve been blown away by the reaction from operators that I work with. I didn’t think there would be some much openness to hear my story in its raw detail and the emotion attached, but that’s what works. When you hear an ex-customer come and tell their story of gambling-related harm and the damage it caused and then lead the team through training to improve you get instant buy-in, that is something I couldn’t experience in food retail training managers.

EPIC: How about EPIC as an organisation? What progress have you witnessed working for the company at this time?

DS: EPIC is fantastic at what they do because they truly care about the issue at hand. The team are made up mainly of ex-gamblers but also experts in learning, design, research, leadership, a whole host of talents that support our work. I’ve learnt so much already and the team is growing fast. We now have a core clientele made up of some of the world’s most well-known casino and sports brands and we support each other through true collaboration. The best part is that EPIC never betray their values and we remain authentic to our mission putting lived experience at the heart of everything we do to deliver our mission ‘to take the problem out of gambling’.

The progress at EPIC has continued throughout the pandemic and 2021 is a really exciting year for our expansion.

EPIC: Working in your role of working as Head of Safer Gambling, what has been your proudest achievement in the role?

DS: When I joined, we delivered all of our training face-to-face, travelling the globe to meet with clients. When all that went away in March 2020 we had to pivot. I was two weeks into the role and helped turn our offering into a fully digital format. It was something that everyone had to get used to eventually, but we were quick and we made sure we had the best solutions for engagement and enjoyment rather than your typical Zoom call training. That’s left us in a strong place in 2021, being able to offer live digital sessions, programmed e-learning modules and digital content as well as in-person training.

EPIC: In terms of looking ahead, what excites you in terms of challenges for EPIC?

DS: Having mentioned our digital learning, I’m definitely ready to jump on a plane and go meet our clients at this point! We have some really ambitious goals for this year and I’m ready to face them head-on. Without giving any secrets away, this is really a year of widening our impact across the gambling sector and beyond. We’ve seen what we can achieve in a pandemic and now I’m excited to see EPIC thrive this year and most importantly have an impact on reducing gambling-related harm. I got to some dark places in my journey and I get to use that experience in my work to improve things, that’s an opportunity I’m grateful for every day.

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