Leeds based online gambling operator Sky Bet launched a new responsible gambling campaign ahead of the weekend’s EFL play-off finals, designed to educate players and staff from the 72 EFL clubs about gambling related harm.
All players that took part across the Championship, League One and League Two play-off finals at Wembley Stadium over the May bank holiday weekend sported new sleeve badges bearing the slogan “When the fun stops. Stop.”
The commitment was agreed as part of the recently announced five-year extension to the partnership that sees the sports gambling company continue as headline sponsor of the Sky Bet EFL until 2023/24.
The programme, to be delivered by EPIC Risk Management, an independent harm minimisation consultancy in the UK, will launch across all clubs over the next season but will begin at Birmingham City, Norwich City, Charlton Athletic, Brentford, Accrington Stanley, Carlisle United, Lincoln City, Newport County, Oldham Athletic and Portsmouth during the off-season period.
EPIC will provide each club with training, which has already been delivered to the likes of Chelsea FC, the Professional Cricketers’ Association and the Rugby Players’ Association. In addition, it will work with current networks within professional football to signpost support for any player or club official who requires it.
The aim of the training will be to ensure players understand the potential risks associated with gambling, the rules around betting integrity, and know how to look out for signs of potential harm in their teammates.
Richard Flint, CEO of Sky Betting & Gaming said: “When we announced the extension of our EFL sponsorship we were keen to put safer gambling at the heart of our renewed partnership. By funding such a vital service for every club we want to play our part in reducing gambling related harm amongst their players and wider staff. I firmly believe that responsible operators can add value to sport through partnerships like this.”
Paul Buck, CEO of EPIC Risk Management said: “A recent Professional Players Federation survey concluded that professional sportspeople are at least three times more likely to be problem gamblers. Our work across other professional sports suggest this is understated. We look forward to working with Sky Bet and the EFL to ensure gambling related harm is reduced across the players and the clubs in what we believe is the most comprehensive programme ever completed in world sport.”
EFL chief executive, Shaun Harvey, added: “The longevity of any partnership is dependent on each party understanding what the other is trying to achieve and it is clear that the EFL and Sky Bet are aligned in our ambition to increase the collective efforts to supporting issues around problem gambling.
“Betting in football should only serve to enhance the matchday experience and I hope that by providing our campaign with visibility at every single game that supporters will be encouraged to stay in control and gamble safely. The work that will take place with EFL clubs, players and staff alike is a hugely significant step forward and will hopefully have a positive impact on all participants in the professional game for many years to come.”