EPIC Risk Management and GVC Foundation US have signed a two-year agreement with the NFLPA Professional Athletes Foundation, a provider of financial assistance and counselling for former NFL players, to create, market, and launch live and virtual educational programs on problem gambling for NFLPA members.

As a result of the partnership, former NFL players will attend responsible gambling and sports integrity sessions presented by former athletes on an ongoing basis. The hope is that the initiative prevents problem gambling and off-field issues which has plagued sports since its inception.

Andre Collins, Executive Director of the NFLPA Professional Athletes Foundation stated: “This is the first program that the NFLPA/PAF has ever run on problem gambling education and awareness.

“As the first major professional sports league in the US to undertake this project, we’re proud to tackle this issue head-on. We urge all sports leagues to address problem gambling with the seriousness it deserves.”

Paul Buck, CEO of EPIC Risk Management, also said: “Proactive education offered to vulnerable populations is crucial for curbing problem gambling. We plan to educate former NFL players through motivational talks provided by former professional athletes who’ve experienced the consequences of problem gambling, first-hand.”

Gambling harm minimisation consultancy, EPIC Risk Management and GVC Foundation US, a responsible gambling nonprofit organisation launched by GVC Holdings will create the program content, which will be tailored to meet the mental health needs of former NFL players.

Moreover, the NFLPA/PAF will advertise, market, and coordinate the delivery of the program to its members.

Martin Lycka, Trustee of GVC Foundation US and Director of Regulatory Affairs for GVC Holdings, added “The gambling industry has a moral responsibility to look after consumers and ensure their well-being. Those with gambling disorders and addictive tendencies deserve our unyielding support, and this program is a perfect extension of our mission to provide that.”

Former New York Giants wide receiver Amani Toomer commented: “Professional athletes are highly susceptible to problematic gambling behavior. Educating these former players on how to gamble responsibly and act with integrity is a crucial step forward for all sports.”

Both responsible gambling entities are further partnering with the Division on Addiction at Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital, to conduct research about elite athletes’ relationships with problem gambling through these and other educational sessions.