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EPIC Risk Management has agreed to a “first-of-its-kind” gambling harm minimisation partnership with The Hippodrome Casino.

The two-year agreement is a follow-up to an initial collaboration for a precursor pilot programme delivered by the former, which was followed by a showcase event at The Hippodrome to emphasise the need for harm minimisation training in UK casinos.

Through the new partnership, the gambling harm minimisation consultancy will work on-site at the casino with both licenced and unlicensed customer-facing staff “to ensure that all interactions with clients throughout their entire visit to the casino will have safer gambling practices at the heart of their approach”.

Sam Douglas, Director of Business Services at The Hippodrome Casino, stated: “We are thrilled to partner with EPIC Risk Management to help our employees build empathy and understanding through lived experience.

“The training they provide is invaluable, and we have already seen a positive impact on our team. We are happy that this partnership will assist us in creating a safe environment for our players in the years to come.”

EPIC’s first such programme will include a series of 20 workshops and four focus group evaluation sessions examining key best practice areas, identifying risk and harm in player activity, vulnerability, stigma, meaningful interactions and increasing confidence.

Led by Joanna Whitehall, Sustainability Manager at EPIC – who has 25 years of land-based casino environment experience – the programme will be co-facilitated by the consultancy’s extensive lived experience of both gambling-related harm and land-based casino management, helping The Hippodrome’s staff apply the knowledge in real-world scenarios. Evaluation sessions will also take place to assess staff’s learning post-course.

Whitehall commented: “We’re very pleased to have further strengthened a very close working relationship with The Hippodrome Casino. We hear examples of the gambling-harm journey experienced by a number of our facilitators throughout the company. 

“Training of this nature hasn’t been standard practice previously in casinos, so it stands to reason that customer-facing staff who may have felt an urge to intervene in cases of harm may not have had the knowledge on how to deal with such clients.

“Now we can provide specific examples of markers of harm, and how to bring up the conversation with confidence and empathy with the intention of identifying risk and preventing gambling-related harm before it happens.

“We look forward to working with The Hippodrome Casino further, to improve safety and confidence for staff and clients alike, and trust that we can continue to expand the reach of this programme to other land-based casinos across the UK who have expressed an interest in a similar project at their venue.”