Under the partnership, Epic will provide awareness, education and risk management programmes to CSPPA members. The organisations will also team up to launch research projects related to gambling awareness within the world of competitive esports.
“We’re delighted to announce such a landmark agreement,” Epic chief executive Paul Buck said. “I must applaud the leadership of the CSPPA for taking a lead in esports around the threats of gambling harm, and we are very excited to launch a first of its kind agreement between an esports players association in this space.
“At Epic, we have a proven track record of working with athletes to make them aware of the potentially destructive financial implications and health issues that out-of-control gambling can cause.
“The work we do covers harmful products and practices and enables athletes to make well-informed decisions, reducing distraction, in addition to educating them on betting integrity issues and their potential problems that out-of-control gambling can cause.”
Buck added that the growth of esports betting has meant that many more people may now be at risk of being affected by problem gambling, and so it was important to educate those involved in esports about responsible gambling.
“The proliferation of gambling on esports and the growth of this sector shows that there’s a broad demographic of people, which include esports players themselves, their fans, audiences and commercial entities who could be at-risk to problem gambling,” Buck said.
“In our conversations with the CSPPA, we’ve been made aware of the potential issues related to gambling addictions in professional CS:GO. This partnership now means that CSPPA is engaged with EPIC to raise awareness of these issues and help its members with any gambling-related problems along with the convergence between esports gaming and gambling.”
The deal follows an announcement by online betting and gaming giant Entain that it had expanded its partnership with Epic and formed a new partnership with the CSPPA as part of an effort to extend its responsible gambling initiatives to video gaming and esports.
Epic has taken other steps towards expanding their programme into esports, including hiring Jonathan Peniket as an esports and online gaming consultant.
“The CSPPA understands that elite athletes, including CSPPA Members, are potentially more vulnerable to gambling addiction and betting integrity issues,” CSPPA chief executive Mads Øland said.
“The CSPPA is committed to protecting its members from the potential harms of gambling addiction, which not only harms the individual both financially and with regards to mental health but also exposes and makes players vulnerable to further abuse relating to betting integrity and match-fixing.
“We are delighted to be working with EPIC on a multi-year collaboration as they are recognised as the leading organisation globally for gambling awareness and have conducted proven programmes across many mainstream traditional sports at an elite level.”