EPIC Risk Management has formed a strategic partnership with problem gambling treatment company Kindbridge, with a specific focus on vulnerable groups in the US.

Of particular importance to the duo is the provision of support to students and professional athletes across the US, due to an increased risk of problem gambling among this demographic.

The partnership intends to deliver a trusted route for treatment, education and prevention techniques to the aforementioned groups, in addition to other vulnerable populations.

Gambling activity has surged across the US over the past year, with a 225% increase in first-time gamblers between March and October 2020 according to the Business Research Company, and both Kindbridge and EPIC are concerned that this will in turn have an effect on rates of gambling addiction, which are already high in the US.

Additionally, in 2016 the National Council of Problem gambling estimated that up to 5.45 million American gamblers are at risk of developing an addiction.

“Kindbridge and EPIC share many values and approaches to reducing gambling-related harm,” said Brianne Doura-Schawohl, VP of US Policy and Strategic Development at EPIC Risk Management.

“EPIC believes that everyone who is struggling with gambling addiction issues should be able to access support and treatment, and Kindbridge’s tailored approach to supporting patient experience means we are proud to call them a partner moving forward.”

EPIC currently works with several major sporting organisations, including the NFLPA Professional Athletes Foundation, and has also delivered educational programmes to over 40 NCAA Division 1 Universities.

The firm’s prevention specialists education, awareness, training and advisory services are based on lived experience. In addition, the company works directly with betting and gaming operators to assist with the identification of and interaction with vulnerable customers, utilising trigger points throughout the gambling experience.

Daniel Umfleet, CEO of Kindbridge, remarked: “This is a fantastic opportunity to combine the world-class education and training efforts that EPIC provides with the power of a specialist mental health clinic whose aim is to become the first virtual centre of excellence dedicated to high-quality, evidence-based gambling and gaming treatment outcomes.”

Kindbridge is a teletherapy company, which operates with a specific focus on delivering therapy-led treatment to people suffering from gambling and gaming disorders. The service works with major American insurance providers such as Medicare, United Healthcare and Aetna, to provide mental health services for problem gamblers.

The group’s primary objective is to build ‘the largest network of mental health treatment providers in the United States that focuses on high quality care for gambling and gaming communities’.