The RPA, RFU and Premiership Rugby Launch New Gambling Awareness Education Programme with EPIC Risk Management

The Rugby Players Association (RPA), Rugby Football Union (RFU), and Premiership Rugby (PRL) have today launched a new four-year partnership with EPIC Risk Management (EPIC) to deliver a Gambling Awareness Education programme.

The announcement follows on from the ground-breaking programme that was rolled out back in 2017 by the RPA, which was the first gambling awareness education of its kind for professional sportsmen and women in the UK.

EPIC use first-hand experience to educate players on the risks of problem gambling and gaming, while illustrating when and how to get help. The programme will also include crucial anti-corruption education.

Delivery of the programme will be as follows:

  • Year 1 & 3 - Premiership Clubs; Championship clubs; Red Roses squad; England Sevens men and women squads.
  • Year 2 & 4 - Regional Academy 16–18-year-old player populations; all Women’s Premier 15s clubs; all Women’s Premier 15s 16-18-year-old player populations.

Outside the world of sport, EPIC's work has seen them delivering awareness sessions and risk management work to a variety of industries, from the military and the prison service to the financial sector.

Richard Bryan, RPA Player Welfare Director said: "In 2017, EPIC helped us to deliver the first gambling awareness education programme for elite athletes in the UK. To be able to build on that relationship and deliver a multi-year, in-depth programme for more players with EPIC, the RFU and PRL is a significant step. Research suggests that professional athletes are more likely to be problem gamblers than those in the general population and the effects can be devastating. As such, it is crucial for us to ensure that players understand the risks associated with problem gambling, as well as the support available to them.”

Alys Lewis, Chair of the PGB Personal Development Sub-Committee and RFU Head of Legal and Regulation said: "The Professional Game Education Strategy is essential to the game and welfare of our participants and the delivery by EPIC of gambling awareness education is central to the delivery of our strategy. We look forward to working with EPIC, along with the RPA, PRL, the Championship Clubs and the Allianz Premiership Clubs to deliver this essential education to the players and staff structure which supports them.

Neil McCarthy, Head of Player Development at Premiership Rugby said: “The welfare of our players is a key priority for Premiership Rugby so alongside the RFU and RPA we are delighted to announce the renewal of this partnership with EPIC, who have become a market leader in this area since they were established in 2013. EPIC’s mission is to take the problem out of gambling and to save lives, something we fully endorse. EPIC work with some of the world's biggest organisations, spanning a large number of sectors, to help mitigate against the risks and potentially devastating effects of problem gambling and we know they will be great partners for our players.”

“We are thrilled to continue our work with the Rugby Players Association,” says John Millington, Director of Sports Partnerships at EPIC Risk Management.

“Furthermore, we’re delighted to extend this work in rugby with the RFU and Premiership Rugby – it’s great to see such a joined-up approach across the sport for such a pertinent and growing issue.”