EPIC collaborates with Harvard University to research problem gambling

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UK-based gambling harm minimisation consultancy EPIC Risk Management has confirmed a partnership with the Division on Addiction at Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital, to carry out research on elite athletes' relationships with problematic gambling behaviour.

The research will be partly funded by GVC Foundation US, and will occur in parallel with GVC Holdings' ongoing research partnership with the Division of Addiction to study GVC's online and retail players to better understand how to minimise gambling-related harm.

Paul Buck, CEO of EPIC Risk Management, said: "We are delighted to be working with Harvard Medical School on this groundbreaking program with elite and up and coming athletes in the US. By working with elite sports across the UK and Europe we know that professional athletes are competitive and don't like to lose, and this can lead to a higher propensity to gamble, and suffer gambling problems, than the general population.

"This program between EPIC and the GVC Foundation US will provide sector-leading education and awareness to professional athletes across the leagues and the data collected in the sessions will be passed to Harvard for independent evaluation and research."

The research will look at the current state of gambling and gambling-related problems among professional athletes, the correlation between gambling and gambling-related problems and key gambling and gambling-related problem awareness, experience and actions.

The Division on Addiction will develop a survey, which will be implemented by EPIC through educational sessions across 14 locations across the US in 2020 and 2021, including New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Tennessee, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, North Carolina, Colorado, DC, and the New England region. The results will then be independently analysed.

Division on Addiction Director of Research, Dr. Sarah Nelson said: "The Division is excited to begin work with EPIC Risk Management to examine gambling and risks for gambling harm in this potentially vulnerable population."

The education program is fully funded by GVC Foundation US, who will provide $2.5 million in financing over the course of two years.

"Proper research on responsible gambling and the relationship that professional athletes have with sports betting is sorely needed in the gambling industry. By addressing the key behaviours and experiences of athletes, we'll be able to help sports betting grow in a safe, sustainable way that benefits everyone involved," added Bill Pascrell, III, Trustee of GVC Foundation US and Partner at PPAG.

Martin Lycka, Trustee of GVC Foundation US and Director of Regulatory Affairs for GVC Holdings, concluded: "GVC Foundation US is very pleased that the Division on Addiction of the Harvard Medical School has agreed to become the research partner to its groundbreaking educational program with EPIC Risk Management in the United States.

"Responsible gambling and sports integrity are weaved into the DNA of the sports betting industry – professional athletes are at the heart of the action and as a result need to be duly protected from the ills gambling may occasion. Gambling related education, based on scientific research, is absolutely key to achieving this objective."

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