EPIC Risk Management is the UK’s leading independent gambling harm minimisation consultancy, placing its key focus on the highest prevalent sectors. EPIC identifies and reduces the brand, reputational, financial and human risks caused by gambling in the workplace.
The firm’s Business Development Manager Mark Potter spoke to SBC about EPIC’s calculated strategy when it comes to increasing education around problem gambling, as well as detailing more about its new partnership with Sky Bet and the EFL.
SBC: Firstly could you tell our readership more about what it is EPIC does and why it’s so important?
Mark Potter: As we know, the term risk means the exposure to danger. At EPIC Risk Management, we work directly with organisations in the sectors that have statistically the highest prevalence of problematic gambling to help reduce the risks associated with this ever growing societal issue.
This comes in the form of education and training, policy development and review, Risk Management and internal audit and executive support.
SBC: Are you able to go into more detail about the education programmes you offer and how they differ for each group of people that you aim to help?
MP: Traditionally the sectors that we work in are Professional Sport, Financial Services, Military, Criminal Justice, Gambling Operators and Education.
Some pretty damning statistics currently show the reasons why we work in the sectors we do;
* 500,000 children aged 11-15 are gambling every week in the UK.
* There are over 1,000 gambling related frauds have led to custodial sentences in the last 5 years.
* 20% of all referrals to the National Problem Gambling Helpline are from people within the financial services industry.
* Professional sportsmen are 5x more likely to gamble more than they can realistically afford.
* Military veterans are 8x more likely to become problem gamblers than the general population.
The work we do in each sector varies.
In financial services we do a lot of Risk Management work to ensure fit for purpose policies and procedures are in place. We do a lot of training around anti money laundering and generally help organisations mitigate the risks of financial frauds in the workplace.
I will cover pro sport in the next question
Military and Criminal Justice we have recently completed two year tenders for Gamble Aware to deliver harm minimisation projects to serving military personnel, serving prisoners, probation staff and families of affected people.
Education we have completed a number of awareness sessions within schools to highlight the dangers of problematic gambling to young people. In the current climate where smart phones, ipads, laptops, debit cards are all common within young people, the vulnerability to gambling is higher than it has ever been, which highlights the need to educate around the potential pitfalls of this.
Please visit our website www.epicriskmanagement.com which goes into more detail about the different sectors and what we do. This would be beneficial to you.
SBC: You recently partnered with Sky Bet and the EFL to provide educational programmes, are you able to tell us more about this and what you hope to achieve with this initiative?
MP: Our partnership with Sky Betting and Gaming and the EFL is aimed at running a responsible gambling programme to educate the players and staff from all 72 EFL league clubs about gambling related harm, how to identify potential signs within team mates and to highlight the pathway of support should the need arise. It has gone really well up to now and several players have come out on social media to endorse the value of the sessions and its content.
SBC: You also work with ex military personnel how important is it that you work with those most vulnerable to problem gambling?
MP: It is EPIC’S mission to take the problem out of gambling, so by working the most vulnerable populations, we feel we can have the most impact. This has certainly been the case with the organisations that we currently work with and our website shows a number of testimonials to show the positive impact that we have had in terms of minimising harm, identification and signposting.
SBC: With regards to your educational programmes in schools and universities, could you explain how crucial it is to educate people about problem gambling at a young age?
MP: It goes without saying that educating young people is critical in terms of reducing gambling harm in the future and also enabling them to make better informed decisions. As part of the sessions, we centre it around a hard hitting personal story, which always gives authenticity and engages the audience. We then educate around the potential dangers, gambling facts, videos and Q and A. We also collect interactive anonymous date from our sessions to provide reports and feedback to organisations.
SBC: Lastly, could you tell us more about the response you’ve had from the industry about what you’re trying to do?
MP: Over the last 18 months, we have collaborated with a couple of proactive operators in Sky Betting and Gaming and Kindred Group (formerly Unibet), with the idea of helping to make gambling safer and fairer for its customers. I can speak for both, when I know they find our knowledge, advice and training invaluable when it comes to ensuring all aspects of safer gambling.
It is EPIC’s intention to work with one, maybe two more operators in the coming months, but only the ones such as our current clients that share our values around safer gambling.