Chicago Fire FC have become the first football club in the United States to deliver problem gambling and gaming awareness sessions to teams throughout their organisation.
This is to be undertaken in partnership with Epic Risk Management and the Entain Foundation US, the operator’s non-profit subsidiary that is dedicated to promoting responsible gambling and sports integrity.
“We know that young athletes are at greater risk of being affected by problematic gaming and gambling, and we recognise the need to take a proactive approach to educating our players and parents on these risks,” says Brian Roberts, director of performance, advisory and support services at Chicago Fire FC.
“The real-life stories that Epic Risk Management use in their educational sessions brings focus to gambling in a way that will have a true impact and will provide our Academy players with the understanding needed to make informed decisions. We are excited to work with an organisation open to customising an approach to educating our Academy players.”
Epic Risk Management will lead sessions with the Chicago Fire’s under-13’s through to the under-19’s, plus the first team. Each will be tailored for the varied audience and age groups through the club’s roster, covering issues such as problem gaming, disordered gambling and sports betting integrity.
Delivery will begin in May and continue throughout 2021, aiming to provide continued support across Chicago Fire’s P.A.S.S. program. Due to COVID-19, sessions will take place via videoconference and move to in-person sessions when safely allowed.
“We are delighted to be able to work closely with Chicago Fire and their performance, advisory, and support services staff to customise our program to integrate into their existing PASS Education,” noted John Millington, VP of US operations at Epic Risk Management.
“Our collaboration with the Entain Foundation US represents a key strategic piece of our prevention pillar. It is essential that professional sports teams and leagues recognise a collective responsibility to educate their players, staff, and their fan base, and we are delighted Chicago Fire have proactively embraced the importance of integrating this market leading education into their existing programs. I hope many more teams will follow their lead.”
To date, Epic Risk Management and the Entain Foundation US have launched collaborations with the NFLPA Professional Athletes Foundation, colleges across the US, and the Division on Addiction at Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital, on research into elite athletes’ relationships with problematic gambling behaviour.
Martin Lycka, Entain’s senior vice president for American regulatory affairs and responsible gambling, and trustee of the Entain Foundation US, noted, “This new partnership among Chicago Fire FC, Epic Risk Management and the Entain Foundation US is another important milestone in promoting player protection and responsible gambling – a top priority of our Foundation. I am proud to affiliate our Foundation in the US with these two outstanding partners.”