The relationship between gambling and football is at saturation point. Gambling has been relentlessly normalised and glamourised to young football fans. As a recovering gambling addict, I feel football has a responsibility to prevent others going through the same thing I did.
Gambling addiction took to me my darkest places and I am pleased to be nearly 24 months in recovery. The sport I love has been infected by gambling and like many others, it infected me too.
There are approximately 500 gambling related suicides every year and 55,000 child problem gamblers.
We are calling for the ban of gambling advertisement within football alongside ensuring football clubs are caring, community hubs where those affected by gambling related harm are protected and supported.
in June 2019, we walked 124 miles in 90 hours around the North of England. The first Big Step was a tough but rewarding challenge where we asked clubs and fans to review their relationship with gambling companies to prevent gambling harm in football.
In February 2020 we walked 100 miles in 75 hours visiting six more Premier League and Championship football clubs, all of whom have a gambling based shirt sponsor.
We have so far raised £8000 for Gambling with Lives, a charity set up by bereaved families and friends of young men who sadly took their own lives as a direct result of their gambling addiction.
We have subsequently engaged with clubs to raise awareness of gambling harms and put measures in place to protect those affected by gambling related harm.