Hundreds of footballers will play in yellow laces this weekend to demand an end to all gambling advertising and sponsorship in football and to remember lives lost to gambling. Glasgow City will join clubs from across England, Scotland and Wales to take part in the campaign, which will be visible across seven different competitions, at a time when the UK’s gambling laws are under review.
The initiative, which falls on Addiction Awareness Week, has been organised by The Big Step, a campaign to end all gambling advertising in sponsorship in football, led by people harmed by gambling and part of Gambling with Lives, a charity set up by families bereaved by gambling-related suicide.
Glasgow City CEO, Laura Montgomery said:
"Once again, we proudly get behind The Big Step Campaign in the effort to remove gambling advertising from football. So many lives are affected and destroyed by gambling and we have responsibilities as football clubs not to exacerbate an increasing problem in our society. Football has such a powerful influence, most notably on the young and you will never see a gambling sponsor at our home matches."
Public Health England estimates there are more than 400 gambling-related suicides each year in England alone, accounting for around 8% of completed suicides. The yellow laces campaign comes a week after Gambling Commission data showed a huge spike in 16-24-year-olds with gambling addiction.
More than 700 gambling adverts can appear during a single televised Premier League match, with a gambling advert visible up to 89% of the time on Match of the Day. Gambling adverts also appear in children’s sticker books, junior sections of matchday programmes and video games age-rated 3+. Earlier this year, the bookmaker Betway was fined £400,000 for having clickable adverts on the junior pages of West Ham’s website, one where children could colour in a teddy bear.
James Grimes, formerly addicted to gambling and founder of The Big Step campaign, said:
“Gambling is often a hidden addiction, and we wear bright yellow to highlight there is no shame and to remember all of the bright lives taken by gambling. This weekend is a bold reminder to the government that campaigners for gambling reform and our supportive football clubs are not going away until people can go to a match and support their heroes without being encouraged to gamble.
“Football is worshipped by millions and cannot be used as a platform to advertise addictive gambling products. We applaud and thank all the clubs taking part.”
Glasgow City defender Meikayla Moore will be wearing the yellow laces this weekend and gave her reasons to get behind the cause:
“As a community, football has huge opportunities to place attention on and endorse positive initiatives like the yellow laces campaign against gambling. As a footballer I feel it’s important to play a role in supporting such initiatives and remind those watching this weekend the significant harm that can be caused through gambling in football and sport as a whole.”
The Big Step
The Big Step is a campaign to end all gambling advertising and sponsorship in football, led by people harmed by gambling and part of the charity Gambling with Lives. You can find out more here.
Gambling with Lives
Gambling with Lives is a charity set up by families bereaved by gambling-related suicide that supports bereaved families, raises awareness of the devastating effects of gambling disorder, and campaigns for change. You can find out more here.