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MLS Players Association Hires Consultants To Teach League Gambling Risks

Written By J.R. Duren on July 3, 2023 - Last Updated on February 16, 2024
Major League Soccer Commissioner presents the league's new logo with Entain and Epic logos

The Major League Soccer Players Association (MLSPA) has signed a three-year gambling education partnership with Entain Foundation US and EPIC Risk Management.

EPIC will provide customized education programs and “advisory resources” throughout the three-year program, all funded by the Entain Foundation.

EPIC Director of Sports Partnerships Ben McGregor said in a PR Newswire press release that his organization is eager to start its work with the largest soccer league in the US:

“We are looking forward to working with the MLSPA and its membership in delivering this national program to provide crucial education and advice regarding the ever-growing relationship between wagering and professional sports in the US”

What the MLSPA gambling awareness program will provide

In general, gambling awareness programs offer a multi-faceted approach to educating people about responsible gambling. Workshops, research, videos, and helplines are all typical offerings.

The awareness program EPIC and Entain will provide the MLSPA with many of the common resources seen in other programs:

  • Awareness workshops
  • Gambling harm prevention education
  • Prevention Resources
  • Adisory resources
  • Content related to gambling awareness and problem gambling
  • Facilitators with extensive sports backgrounds

“This program is intended to provide MLSPA members with informed understanding to minimize the risk of sporting integrity issues that can arise from gambling activities, as well as utilizing our considerable lived experience from facilitators who have elite sports backgrounds, who can also advise on the effects that gambling-related harm can have on an individual’s performance and welfare,” McGregor said.

The move by the MLS comes amid high-profile betting fiascos that have plagued professional and amateur sports in the US over the past two years. Multiple NFL players have been suspended for violating gambling policies. And the University of Alabama lost its baseball coach because of a gambling scandal.

MLSPA COO Dan Jones said:

“This partnership with EPIC Risk Management and Entain Foundation U.S will enhance our ability to educate and equip our player pool as the presence and inherent risks of sports betting continue to evolve and permeate players’ lives. We look forward to working alongside them to ensure players have access to crucial education, resources and support.”

Who are EPIC and Entain?

The Entain Foundation funds problem-gambling information and education programs in the US. The foundation is part of Entain Group, a sports betting and gambling company that generated more than $5 billion in revenue in 2022. The company is a joint owner of BetMGM.

Entain started its foundation in 2019 and, in 2020, pledged to invest more than $100 million in gambling awareness programs.

EPIC Risk Management is a gambling prevention and awareness consultancy that has experience working with the NCAA, NFLPA, and the MLS’ Chicago Fire FC.

Where to get help for a gambling problem

The National Council on Problem Gambling is a nationwide problem gambling awareness organization. They offer multiple ways to seek help if you struggle with a gambling addiction.

Trained facilitators are available at 1-800-GAMBLER, through chat at 1800gamblerchat.org, and by text at 800GAM.

Photo by Bebeto Matthews / AP Photo; illustrated by PlayUSA
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J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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