Dulwich Hamlet is the latest football club to support a national campaign to end gambling advertising and sponsorship in football.
To celebrate the new partnership, on Saturday (9 October) The Big Step team will walk from Premier League clubs, including Crystal Palace, to Champion Hill where Dulwich Hamlet play Billericay Town at 3pm.
The Big Step is encouraging people to join the walks and have a limited number of free tickets to the Dulwich game available for walkers.
The event – Walking Toward Change – takes place during an international break and is also supported by Billericay Town.
It is designed to draw attention to the serious issues surrounding the very high levels of gambling advertising in the game today.
DHFC’s support comes as pressure is mounting on government to changes to change the law with its review of the 2005 Gambling Act.
Norwich is currently the only Premier League withouta gambling sponsor or “partner”.
Dulwich Hamlet are joining Forest Green Rovers, Edinburgh City, Tranmere Rovers, and Lewes FC in calling for an end to gambling advertising in football.
The Big Step is a grassroots project, part of the charity Gambling with Lives, that campaigns to “kick gambling ads out of football”.
The Big Step’s petition to end gambling sponsorship and advertising in football joined forces with Peter Shilton’s “Soccer Shirt Ban” earlier this year, and has already gathered more than 12,000 signatures, including Gary Lineker.
There are an estimated 250 to 650 gambling-related suicides in the UK each yea, with people addicted to gambling up to 15 times more likely to take their lives than members of the general population.
The campaign believes there are between 430,000 and 1.4 million people addicted to gambling the UK.
The Big Step has already won the support of several MPs, including Ronnie Cowan of the Scottish National Party, and Labour’s Carolyn Harris, Paul Blomfield, Zarah Sultana and Dawn Butler.
To sign up, simply fill in the form on its events page.
Rob Hyneman, community lead at Dulwich Hamlet, said the club “is delighted to be partnering with The Big Step. Responsible advertising in the sports industry is something we are keen to widen the conversation about.
“Whether it’s junk food or betting, neither have a place in a sports arena where thousands come to watch their heroes each week.
“DHFC has already had a strong anti-gambling stance and this partnership fits perfectly with the club’s ethos.”
James Grimes, founder of The Big Step and formerly addicted to gambling said: “We are thrilled to have the support of a progressive and community-driven club like Dulwich Hamlet.
“This is further acceptance of the harm caused by gambling ads in football and if reports are to be believed it’s looking like shirt sponsorship will be banned.
“But we must go further, and that’s why this support from DHFC is pivotal and timely.
“For most of us involved with The Big Step, the harmful relationship between gambling and football was the gateway for years of addiction – if only our clubs had taken this stance, things may have been different for us.”
The Big Step campaign that was started and is run by people who have experience of gambling harm.
It revolves around ending gambling advertising and sponsorship in football, and now forms a constituent part of the wider Gambling with Lives campaign.
Gambling with Lives was set up by the families and friends of young people who had taken their own lives as a direct result of gambling.