Forest Green Rovers call for ban on gambling ads in football

| By Nosa Omoigui
League Two football team Forest Green Rovers has thrown its support behind the Big Step campaign, which is calling for an end to all gambling promotion in football.
Forest Green Rovers support Big Step campaign

The campaign was created by the Gambling With Lives charity, established to support those bereaved by gambling-related harm.

The Big Step aims to see the end of all gambling sponsorship and advertising in football, where currently there are thought to be 55 different gambling sponsorship or partnership deals with 44 football clubs in the top two divisions in England.

The campaign aims to tackle the issue through the delivery of community education and awareness programmes, in an attempt to bring the problem to light.

Big Step founder James Grimes said: “We’re delighted to have the support of Forest Green Rovers. This is a vital moment to secure meaningful gambling reform in the UK. As a recovering gambling addict and massive football fan, I’m passionate about ensuring the game is part of the solution to gambling harms.

“Our outdated gambling laws need to change, especially with the exponential rise of online gambling.  Sponsorship of sporting events by tobacco companies is banned and we believe gambling should be the same. To be truly effective, shirt sponsorship, stadium promotions and other branding should not be visible during matches.”

The desire to end gambling advertising extends beyond football; Mayor of London Sadiq Khan pledged to ban gambling ads on the London Underground if re-elected, and the Irish Labour Party recently introduced a bill to ban all gambling advertising.

Forest Green Rovers chairman Dale Vince OBE added: “It’s like gambling has taken over football.  If you watch a game on TV you are inundated with ads – gambling logos are on almost half of Premier League shirts, and constantly flash up on pitch side boards. For me, the fun already stopped.  This is an abuse of football and of football fans.” 

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