This weekend, two groups of recovering gambling addicts took part in a marathon walk to appeal to gambling operators to cease football advertising.
Gambling with Lives and Big Step held a sponsored walk between Wednesday 23rd and Sunday 27th September 2020 that saw its members walk to 8 different Premier League and Championship football clubs across the Midlands.
According to Big Step’s website, the group wants “to prevent children being exposed to gambling” and hence, its end goal (pardon the pun) is to “end all gambling sponsorship advertising and promotion in football”.
At the same time, members encouraged the public to sign its petition which calls on the UK Parliament and Boris Johnson to end gambling advertising and sponsorship in football.
The ex-gambler who set up the petition says that although he’s been free from gambling for over 2 years, he’s concerned that “many don’t recover from this cruel addiction”. He goes on to say that he was “one of many young football fans exposed to this advertising and this proved to be my introduction to a 12-year gambling addiction that destroyed my life”.
The charity, Gambling with Lives, was set up by bereaved families of young people who committed suicide due to their gambling addictions. The charity went on to found The Big Step which encourages members to walk and talk to high-profile football clubs to make them realise the harm that “football’s relationship with gambling” has caused to “millions of young people”.
Back in July 2020, a House of Lords Select Committee report recommended that Premier League clubs should not be allowed to display betting firms on their shirts. It also wants sponsors on Championship club shirts to be phased out by 2023.
Although Big Step aims to stop gambling advertising within UK football, all types of gambling (e.g. sports betting, casino, and bingo) have been targeted this year by the Betting and Gaming Council who manage to get gambling firms to stop all radio and TV advertising during the Coronavirus lockdown.