The NFLPA Professional Athletes Foundation, a provider of financial assistance and counselling for former NFL players, has signed a two-year agreement with EPIC Risk Management and GVC Foundation US to create, market, and launch live and virtual educational programs for NFLPA members.

Problem gambling and off-field issues have plagued professional athletes across sports since their inception. But with this new agreement in place, former NFL players will attend responsible gambling and sports integrity sessions presented by former athletes on an ongoing basis.

“This is the first program that the NFLPA/PAF has ever run on problem gambling education and awareness,” said Andre Collins, Executive Director of the NFLPA Professional Athletes Foundation. “As the first major professional sports league in the US to undertake this project, we’re proud to tackle this issue head-on. We urge all sports leagues to address problem gambling with the seriousness it deserves.”

EPIC Risk Management and GVC Foundation US will create the program content, which will be tailored to meet the mental health needs of former NFL players , while the NFLPA/PAF will advertise, market, and coordinate the delivery of the program to its members.

Former New York Giants wide receiver Amani Toomer commented: “Professional athletes are highly susceptible to problematic gambling behavior. Educating these former players on how to gamble responsibly and act with integrity is a crucial step forward for all sports.” 

As a Trustee for GVC Foundation US, Toomer will help deliver educational sessions throughout the country alongside EPIC Risk Management.

EPIC Risk Management, a gambling harm minimization consultancy, and GVC Foundation US, a responsible gambling nonprofit launched by GVC Holdings, have an existing partnership aiming to co-host educational seminars throughout the US. 

The two groups are further partnering with the Division on Addiction at Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital, to conduct research about elite athletes’ relationships with problem gambling through these and other educational sessions.

Paul Buck, CEO of EPIC Risk Management, stated: “Proactive education offered to vulnerable populations is crucial for curbing problem gambling. We plan to educate former NFL players through motivational talks provided by former professional athletes who’ve experienced the consequences of problem gambling, first-hand.”

Martin Lycka, Trustee of GVC Foundation US and Director of Regulatory Affairs for GVC Holdings, said: “The gambling industry has a moral responsibility to look after consumers and ensure their well-being. Those with gambling disorders and addictive tendencies deserve our unyielding support, and this program is a perfect extension of our mission to provide that.”