“The growth of esports, gaming and gaming betting continues to race along at record speed,” noted Paul Findlay, EPIC Risk Management’s Director of CSR, upon reflection of how an INTENTA alliance came about in our latest 100 Club special.

This puts the spotlight on one of a number core focus areas of the consultancy, which, in turn, places the importance of education among those most likely to utilise these aforementioned segments as a “logical outcome”.

To this regard, and in a bid to drive awareness, and strategise the global prevention, of gambling and gaming-related harm, EPIC inked a 12-month partnership with a group whose mission statement is to spearhead safe play and positive mental health.

“We aren’t telling people that they shouldn’t get involved in those activities – we just want to make them aware of the potential risks that they could encounter and make sure that they engage with them in the safest possible environment,” Findlay said to avoid any potential misunderstanding.

Alongside Cam Adair, Founder of INTENTA, hailed as a “long-standing friend and associate” of the consultancy, an alliance was also deemed “logical,” with unity providing a platform to deliver an even greater effect than stand-alone projects.

“Of equal importance is getting that message home to parents too. They’re often unaware of the potential for harm from unregulated access to loot boxes”

Paul Findlay, EPIC Risk Management’s Director of CSR

Upon being quizzed on what each party will commit as part of the partnership, Findlay continued: “This project is primarily a sharing of insights, expertise and first-hand lived experience of gambling-related harm, to enhance the education that we provide to young audiences about activities that most of them undertake on a regular basis. 

“It’s so crucial that we educate young people on the risks that can occur when they engage with esports and gaming, because there is still a considerable need to raise awareness of the gambling-related elements that sit within these leisure activities.

“Of equal importance is getting that message home to parents too. They’re often unaware of the potential for harm from unregulated access to loot boxes that their children currently have, so we need partnerships like this to help share that message to the people who are often unaware that they are footing the bill, financially and emotionally, for an addictive behaviour that is forming in their child.”

Amid a continued surge in the popularity of esports and gaming, the importance of not only informing and educating players, but also management teams and esports audiences regarding potential risks is hailed as a critical component, alongside that of enlightening individuals on how to avoid and recognise such issues. 

An “explosive growth” of the gaming industry was referenced by INTENTA upon the alliance first being disclosed, with loot boxes, social casino games and esports betting all cited.

Picking up where Findlay left off Amanda Powlesland, co-founder of INTENTA, began by touching upon what needs to be done to address this.

“INTENTA is pro-gaming but further safeguarding needs to be developed, including educational and awareness campaigns and training,” she said.

“Collaborative community grass roots driven partnerships and committed visionary industry organisations who want to lead on these issues together to maximise the positive behavioural health outcomes for gamers and families.”

“…further safeguarding needs to be developed, including educational and awareness campaigns and training”

Amanda Powlesland, co-founder of INTENTA

Regarding what the company will bring to the table regarding the collaboration, she added: “Gaming and esports behavioural health experts spearheading responsible play and positive mental health to make gaming and esports a safe experience. 

“Strategic advisory services to help organisations become early adoptees of responsible and safer gaming practices to meet or exceed regulatory requirements.“

In addition to that touched upon above, the partnered entities will also share insights, expertise and first-hand experiences of gambling and gaming-related harm, with subsequent collaboration opportunities in potential research and business development projects to be presented.

To conclude, Findlay wrapped things up by taking a look at what needs to be done by stakeholders to better safeguard players regarding the gaming and esports ecosystems.

“We hope that this partnership will help us to find the answers to that question, but we are clear on two things,” he ended.

“One is that there needs to be more education around the Issue, which this partnership addresses, and we also believe that with loot boxes in particular, there should be increased regulation, preventing any children from being able to access them. 

“We’re firm in our stance that children shouldn’t have access to gambling products; we believe that all those concepts you’ve mentioned are forms of gambling.

“It’s an area that is evolving really quickly, as we’ve already identified, and as we go out and deliver this education via a sharing of knowledge, we hope that we too will learn more about the associated risks and continue to update our delivery to inform these receptive audiences.”