PRESS RELEASE: Chippenham Town FC join growing list of clubs backing ban on gambling advertising in football
Chippenham Town FC join growing list of clubs backing ban on gambling advertising in football
Chippenham Town Football Club has announced they are supporting The Big Step’s campaign to end all gambling advertising and sponsorship in football. In doing so, Chippenham have joined clubs across the country that have done the same, including Luton Town, Tranmere Rovers, Forest Green Rovers, Lewes, Billericay Town, Edinburgh City and Dulwich Hamlet.
The Big Step is a grassroots campaign, part of the charity Gambling with Lives, that is aiming to reduce gambling-related harms in the UK by tackling the escalating influx of gambling advertising in football.
The campaign group is made up of people who have suffered gambling harms. For many in the group, football was the ‘hook’ that started years of addiction. Gambling advertising and sponsorship is widespread across all levels of football in the UK, with Chippenham Town currently playing in the National League South, which is sponsored by Unibet.
Chippenham Town’s chairman, Neil Blackmore, said:
“We have a duty of care, not only to our staff and players, but also to our supporters, and anything we can do to prevent any gambling-related harm is a step in right direction.”
Tragically, there are an estimated 250–650 gambling-related suicides in the UK each year1, with people suffering from gambling disorder up to 15 times more likely to take their own lives than members of the general population2. There are between 430,000 and 1.2 million people addicted to gambling the UK.
James Grimes, who was once addicted to gambling and is the founder of The Big Step, said:
“It’s fantastic to see Chippenham Town take a stand against the rising tide of gambling adverts in our game. Lately, we’ve seen several clubs come out and back our campaign and it really feels like that tide is turning in our favour.
“We encourage every club in the country to take this stance, and we are campaigning hard to ensure the government puts young people first by ending gambling advertising and sponsorship in football through legislation.”
The Big Step’s campaign has won the support of several MPs, including Ronnie Cowan of the Scottish National Party, together with Labour’s Paul Blomfield, Zarah Sultana and Dawn Butler.
Chippenham Town’s support comes at a time when pressure is mounting on the Government to make tangible changes to existing legislation during their current review of the 2005 Gambling Act. The results of the review are due in the coming months.