The Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) is to enhance education of the issues of gambling in the sport via a four-year partnership with EPIC Risk Management.

Describing the agreement as a ‘first-of-its-kind’ deal, EPIC will also deliver educational sessions with women’s county and regional squads.

Ian Thomas, Director of Member Services at the PCA, commented: “We are delighted to expand our partnership with EPIC Risk Management in the first agreement of its kind.”

“We have worked extensively with EPIC in the past and the quality of education delivery has always been of the highest standard, so we look forward to this partnership continuing in an official capacity for the next four years, including delivering education to women cricketers for the very first time.”

Highlighting its focus on lived experience as a tool to promote gambling awareness – a topic which was underscored by the consultancy firm’s Head of Delivery US, Mark Potter, at Kindred Group’s Sustainable Gambling Conference – EPIC and the PCA have referenced the career of Chris Wood for its sessions.

The former Hampshire and London Spirit seamer sought help from the PCA after losing hundreds of thousands of pounds through gambling, and now uses his lived experience in EPIC’s educational sessions to professional sports clubs across the UK.

The first year of the partnership will focus on all county academies and women’s regional teams, before moving onto county professional squads and rookie camps in the second year.

“The welfare of our members is always our first priority, so it’s important that we make all professional cricketers, as well as academy players, aware of the mental health implications that recreational gambling can pose with assistance from EPIC Risk Management,” Thomas added.

County academies will again receive gambling awareness sessions in the third year, along with both women’s regional teams and rookie squads, whilst the final year will refocus on rookies and professional squads.

Patrick Foster, Director of UK and Rest of the World at EPIC Risk Management, said: “We are delighted to continue our work with the Professional Cricketers’ Association. In 2021, we have been able to provide sessions for the county academies and women’s regional teams, conducting these sessions digitally during lockdown and more recently in person. 

“The initial feedback from players has been really encouraging, with the squads showing great interest in the vital message we’ve been delivering; they’ve asked plenty of pertinent questions and demonstrated a lot of understanding how important an issue it is.

“We’re particularly pleased to have been delivering these sessions to the women’s regional teams, which is an important step for all parties as the profile and reward of their competition grows. We’re delighted with this start and looking forward to extending our partnership into the future.”

Gambling harms are becoming further acknowledged in the world of sports. For example, GambleAware relaunched its ‘Bet Regret’ advertising campaign in August as the Premier League got underway, and June saw Scottish fourth-tier team Edinburgh City announce that it was supporting a campaign to ban betting advertising in Scottish football. 

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