Entain, EPIC Team Up To Teach Safe Gambling To Chicago Fire Players

Written By Joe Boozell on April 16, 2021

Chicago Fire FC will partner with EPIC Risk Management and Entain Foundation US to launch gambling awareness sessions with its teams.

The Fire are the first Major League Soccer (MLS) team to do so.

EPIC Risk Management will lead sessions for the Fire’s major league team, as well as their U-19 and U-13 squads.

Brian Roberts, director of performance, advisory and support services (P.A.S.S.) at Chicago Fire FC, said in a press release:

“We know that young athletes are at greater risk of being affected by problematic gaming and gambling, and we recognize the need to take a proactive approach to educating our players and parents on these risks.

“The real-life stories that EPIC Risk Management use in their educational sessions brings focus to gambling in a way that will have a true impact and will provide our Academy players with the understanding needed to make informed decisions. We are excited to work with an organization open to customizing an approach to educating our Academy players.”

Leaders will focus the sessions on disordered gambling, sports betting integrity and problem gaming.

John Millington, the vice president of US operations at EPIC Risk Management, said:

“We are delighted to be able to work closely with Chicago Fire and their Performance, Advisory and Support Services staff to customize our program to integrate into their existing PASS Education.

“Our collaboration with the Entain Foundation US represents a key strategic piece of our prevention pillar. It is essential that professional sports teams and leagues recognize a collective responsibility to educate their players, staff, and their fan base, and we are delighted Chicago Fire have proactively embraced the importance of integrating this market leading education into their existing programs.

“I hope many more teams will follow their lead.”

March was problem gambling awareness month

As sports betting continues to become legal across the US, it is important to continue to educate people on how to play responsibly.

Last month was Problem Gambling Awareness Month.

The National Council on Problem Gaming (NCPG) estimates that about 2%-3% of Americans meet the criteria for problem gambling. And because about 40% of those who have a gambling problem start before the age of 17, so it’s good to see that the Fire’s junior teams are included in this campaign.

Calls to the Illinois gambling disorder hotline have more than doubled since 2019. Illinois recently conducted a study that should give us more up-to-date information on the state’s gambling addiction issues.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER or 1-800-426-2537 for help.

About the Chicago Fire

The Chicago Fire are entering their 24th season in MLS. They last won the MLS Cup in 1998.

They have also won four Lamar Hunt US Open Cups, though they haven’t done so in more than a decade.

The Fire play their home matches at Soldier Field, also home of the Chicago Bears. They recently moved their operations out of SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview.

Chicago begins its 2021 season on Saturday at home against the New England Revolution. Fans can watch the games on WGN.

Last season, the Fire finished in 11th place in the Eastern Conference. They did not make the playoffs.

Photo by John Raoux / AP
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Joe Boozell

Joe Boozell has also been a college sports writer for NCAA.com since 2015. His work has also appeared in Bleacher Report, FoxSports.com and NBA.com. Growing up, Boozell squared off against both Anthony Davis and Frank Kaminsky in the Chicagoland basketball scene ... you can imagine how that went.

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