EPIC proposes guidance for sports betting partnerships

EPIC aims to expand its representation.
EPIC aims to expand its representation.

EPIC Risk Management has published recommendations for sports clubs and governing bodies.

UK.- The problem gambling body EPIC Risk Management has published research carried out by its Pro Sport Advisory Board (PSAB), including recommendations for sports clubs, leagues and governing bodies to address problem gambling. It suggests guidelines for commercial partnerships and other arrangements with gambling companies, which remain under scrutiny amid the delay in the UK government’s review of gambling legislation.

EPIC recommends that sports organisations “embed mandatory gambling harm education programmes” into any contracts with gambling businesses. Partnerships should also have a “collaborative approach” with safer gambling promotion at the centre of the agreement and an “organisation-wide strategy” to deliver the message. 

EPIC stressed the importance of this approach for any sports organisation “concerned about the wider perception of engaging into commercial partnerships” with sports betting and/or online casino brands. The recommendation comes amid instances of fan backlash against recent gambling sponsorship deals, such as Aston Villa’s agreement with BK8.

Elsewhere in the report, EPIC finds that people perceive gambling to be “a normal part of sport”, having expanded beyond horse racing and football pools. It said in-play betting and other tech developments had boosted the popularity of online gambling, while esports has also become more popular, bringing in revenue of $1.38bn in 2022.

It said: “Similar to sports bettors, esports bettors can believe that they are able to develop a certain degree of skill, knowledge and analysis of in-game features, and therefore they would have a better chance of winning due to their knowledge of the game.

“Research has shown that esports betting is not only appealing to gamers, online gamblers in particular are attracted to video game-related gambling.”

EPIC concluded that increased digital technology in gambling meant more need for “digital resources” to address problem gambling.

It said: “Despite a recent increase in relevant gambling research, there are numerous gaps in the data – especially around gambling amongst female athletes and athletes of younger ages – which limits evidence-led practices in such areas.

“Research is vital for decision making, and to create policies and gambling research should be funded by gambling corporations and governing bodies.”

EPIC said it aims to expand the markets and competitions it represents in its membership.

BGC urges government to reject calls for higher taxes on gambling

The UK gambling industry lobby and standards group the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has urged the country’s new secretary of state for culture, media and sport to reject any proposals to introduce new taxes on gambling.

Chief executive Michael Dugher appealed directly to Lucy Frazer after Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey said his party would tax gambling companies more to pay for a new Carer’s Minimum Wage if they came to power. He said the proposal aimed to tackle huge staff shortages in the social care sector. 

Meanwhile, Frazer has taken the helm of a slimmed-down Department for Culture, Media and Sport with the government yet to publish the outcome of its review of the 2005 Gambling Act.

Dugher said: “There are still issues to finalise, but the long-awaited package of welcome reforms should be published without delay. We hope the new Secretary of State will listen to racing and to the millions of punters who are concerned about blanket, intrusive, low-level ‘affordability’ checks driving people to the unsafe unregulated black market online. 

“We also hope that as a sector supporting jobs and investment in the UK, recovering from the pandemic and facing tough economic headwinds, she will reject calls for any new taxes on the industry.”

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