‘Conscious Colossus’ and the role of sport in disadvantaged communities

The FA

Launching ‘Conscious Colossus’, betting technology group, Colossus Bets affirmed its commitment to supporting ‘three nominated charities’; Alive and Kicking, the Greyhound Trust and YGAM. 

InsiderSport spoke to the group’s CCO, Eva Karagianni-Goel about the importance of its newly launched initiative, as it backs the approach of the Greyhound Trust and partners with ‘Alive and Kicking’ to utilise sport to promote well-being and provide much needed employment for disadvantaged communities. 

InsiderSport: Firstly, can you tell me how important the ‘Conscious Colossus’ initiative is to you as an operator? 

Eva Karagianni-Goel: Immensely important. Without exaggeration, Conscious Colossus has been years in the making.This will perhaps be seen as procrastination or even hesitation, but to design a scheme that is both ambitious in its scale and clear in its vision is a challenging journey, especially when in parallel our team were hard at work to reach significant, consecutive commercial milestones.

So in the end, launching Conscious Colossus amounts to an organisational ‘coming of age’. This is the picture looking from the outside in… Looking from the inside out, we have set a high standard for Colossus to be a responsible operator in every sense of the word “responsible”. In this context, Conscious Colossus is an assertion of the sort of company we aspire to be.

InsiderSport: One of the charities being backed is the Greyhound Trust, how important is it that the industry gives back to racing in terms of welfare? 

Eva Karagianni-Goel: Concerns around animal welfare have not only tainted the image of greyhound racing but have also raised calls for outright prohibition. We chose to back the Greyhound Trust because we appreciate their ‘do first’ approach of finding homes for the retired greyhounds, while advocating for greyhound welfare more broadly. I actually think it is important that the industry goes beyond giving back, which after all can be cynically perceived as an attempt to wash our hands of the industry’s sins. 

Racing, unlike other sports, has a uniquely symbiotic relationship with betting, which translates into operators having more clout on how the sport is conducted. In other industries, we have seen the rise of ‘ethical sourcing’ or ‘ethical supply chains’ and this approach can be transplanted to racing with the right, coordinated influence – and rewards – flowing from operators to racetracks and, ultimately, breeders. Imagine how potent it would be if the racing industry could reverse the negative image and legitimately promote itself as the place where animal lovers can see these horses and greyhounds compete, in the knowledge that they are treated as athletes and champions deserve to be treated.

InsiderSport: Do you anticipate others in the industry will follow the lead of Colossus in elevating support for animal welfare in racing?

Eva Karagianni-Goel: The racing industry rarely makes headlines on the basis of its solidarity but what I can say, building on what we already discussed, is that it makes both moral and commercial sense to join forces on establishing strict animal welfare policies. It’s definitely a case of strength in numbers and it would be a ‘win win’ scenario – unite on welfare, clean the sport, grow the pie, compete on product.

InsiderSport: Alive and Kicking is also being supported as part of the initiative, what type of role can sport play in helping communities around the world? 

Eva Karagianni-Goel: As Alive and Kicking are proving, sport can play a multi-dimensional role from promoting well-being to providing much needed employment for disadvantaged communities and beyond. When I first met Ben Sadler, CEO of Alive and Kicking, he told me the story of how a makeshift football being kicked around a poor African neighbourhood inspired the creation of Alive and Kicking. It is a powerful and, at the same time, humbling image that has stayed with me, especially when you consider it was the genesis of an organisation that has since made over 750,000 balls, donated over 20% of them and keeps over 150 people, with an average of six dependants each, in full-time, fairly paid employment.  

InsiderSport: The partnerships seek to develop not only donations, but also meaningful long-term partnerships, can you tell us more about what this involves? 

Eva Karagianni-Goel: We want the ethos of Conscious Colossus to permeate our organisation and involving our team in the development and delivery of the scheme is the most certain way to achieve this. As with the launch, we will continue to use our media reach and marketing channels to raise awareness for the supported causes. In fact, our marketing team are working directly with the charities to ‘tell their story’ through engaging content. We have also committed to boost our initial donations by tapping into the Colossus community with targeted competitions and fundraisers. Then, we are on standby to volunteer our time and skills. And as we are a social bunch, we have already exchanged our first event invitations. All in all, we aim to foster an ‘extended team’ feeling between us and our nominated charities.

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