EPIC Risk Management has strengthened its ranks with the addition of Jonathan Peniket as the firm’s online gaming and esports consultant.

As part of Jonathon’s duties he will work with the firm to minimise gambling-related harm’ associated with the esports and gaming industry. Moreover, there will be a particular emphasis delivering sessions in the company’s education and professional sports pillars for the US, UK and Europe.

The topic of loot boxes and in-game spending has caused major discussion in recent years and continues to fall under more scrutiny from lawmakers. As of right now there are no specific laws in the United States targeting loot boxes, however, Belgium already prohibited the use of loot boxes in games in 2018. Moreover, gaming-rating agency Pegi is also promising clearer and more informative ratings to warn if a game has loot boxes and other random paid-for items.

“I am proud and excited to be joining this team as a gaming and esports consultant,” said Peniket. “EPIC contacted me after I told my story about loot box addiction on the BBC earlier this year. I feel that it is helping me to make a real difference in educating on the very real dangers of gambling within video games. Though gaming may be a slightly new angle for EPIC, it is one that the company takes seriously, and I am grateful to be able to use my expertise to help it to tackle issues within gaming.”

Across the pond, the UK’s Department of Digital Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) last month launched a call for evidence on the impact of loot boxes in video games in a bid to examine rising concerns that they may encourage problem gambling or compulsive habits. 

Regarding the appointment, Paul Buck EPIC’s CEO highlighted that Peniket will become a valuable asset to the company as it looks to strengthen its esports and gaming department, alongside a new advisory board.

Buck added: “We’re delighted to bring Jonathan into EPIC Risk Management. Jonathan brings to EPIC his own Lived Experience and is a passionate advocate for educating younger people and their significant others of the potential dangers of online gaming and loot-boxes.

“The esports and gaming landscape is an area that is receiving more and more scrutiny and the recent House of Lords Gambling Committee calls for evidence and discussions concerning video game loot boxes in a real signifier of that. We feel that with Jonathan on-board, added to a new advisory board of leading experts to be announced in the coming days, we have someone who can help shape our approach and help connect with an extremely important demographic.”