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Sporttrade Announces Partnership With Behavioral Health Provider

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On Monday, the sports betting operator Sporttrade and Birches Health, a New York-based behavioral health services provider that offers online counseling and other resources to gambling addicts, announced a responsible gambling partnership that will find Birches Health’s information and services prominently featured on Sporttrade’s betting app.

The announcement coincides with the start of Problem Gambling Awareness Month.

According to Sporttrade CEO and founder Alex Kane, the seeds of the partnership were sown when Sporttrade’s chief compliance operator, Arpita McGrath, was introduced to Birches CEO Elliott Rapaport by a mutual acquaintance. 

“In the initial conversation with Birches Health, it was a no-brainer that this industry needs this and I want to make sure Sporttrade patrons have access to this valuable resource,” McGrath said in a press release. “My biggest question at the end of the initial conversation with Birches was, ‘How quickly can we implement this?’”

“Right now, our player protection center is easier to access than any other online sportsbook, but it’s still a sort of check-the-box-thing right now,” Kane told Sports Handle on Friday. “When we incorporate the Birches Health stuff, it’s in the app. You click into your account and it’ll be right there without having to scroll, depending on your device size. We are incredibly player forward. Every bet you place has a cost, and we want that cost to be as low as possible. 

“We want players to be better bettors, and the best players are responsible players.”

‘New resources’ part of partnership

While Birches works to assist addicts of many stripes, problem gamblers have been an area of focus of late. Back in September, Sports Handle reported that Birches had forged a partnership with the national fraternity Alpha Delta Phi to offer support to its college-aged members.

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While Birches has its own collection of counselors that current or potential problem gamblers can access online, it also has external partnerships in place should demand eclipse the in-house supply. With the Sporttrade partnership, Rapaport told Sports Handle that Birches is “making a large push with new resources” that will include “education, learning modules, content, and resources to encourage healthy behaviors.”

When asked if Birches had held discussions with legacy problem and responsible gambling organizations like EPIC Global Solutions and the National Council on Problem Gambling, Rapaport said he couldn’t comment on future partnerships. He did, however, say, “As we continue to grow, I think that a large focus of ours is going to be forming partnerships with organizations who have already kind of established themselves amongst the leaders in the problem gambling, responsible gambling, and harm reduction space.”

10 tips for betting responsibly

In terms of how proactive Sporttrade will be in steering customers with problematic betting habits to Birches, Kane said that time will tell.

“Opportunities like this come up and you say yes to them and you figure out how to make it work,” he said. “We’re at the size right now where a lot of our players are of a professional bent. We’ve been really fortunate not to run into something where, ‘Here’s a customer who just deposited thousands of dollars six times in one night.’”

Kane believes, however, that the day will come when Sporttrade — which, in optimal form and with regulatory approval, would operate as a pure betting exchange — reaches mass adoption and deals with less knowledgable bettors who may be more inclined to gamble recklessly.

Hence, Sporttrade is sending out an email to its entire database of customers on Monday, one which introduces them to Birches and offers the following 10 tips for betting responsibly:

  1. When engaging in sports betting, understand that you’re doing it for fun. Do not expect that you will win.
  2. Pick a spending cap for your betting and really stick to it.
  3. Make sure you understand the cost of placing each bet before you place it.
  4. Always play with your own cash, not borrowed money.
  5. If you choose to bet on sports, it should be something you do, not who you are. Understand that you simply cannot control the outcome of any bet.
  6. Drinking impairs your judgement, which is a bad idea while betting. If you’re drinking, don’t bet.
  7. Trying to, or expecting to “win back” losses isn’t a thing. Don’t do it. Pick a unit size and stick to it!
  8. If you’re not feeling well, or you’re depressed, don’t even open a sports betting app.
  9. Pick a time limit for how long you play and make sure to follow it.
  10. Learn about the signs and impacts of at-risk problem gambling behaviors.

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