Partick Thistle become 20th club to call for gambling sponsorship ban in football after visit from campaigners

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The Scottish Championship side have joined The Big Step n calling for an end to football’s unhealthy relationship with gambling companies

Partick Thistle have become the 20th football club in the UK to back The Big Step’s campaign to end all gambling advertising and sponsorship in football.

The Jags announcement follows the latest campaign event, which saw over 40 people harmed by gambling walk 60 miles to visit nine Scottish football clubs.

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The Firhill club joins Tranmere Rovers, Luton Town, Forest Green Rovers, Edinburgh City and others in calling for an end to football’s unhealthy relationship with gambling companies.

Partick Thistle become 20th club to call for an end to gambling sponsorship in football after visit from campaignersPartick Thistle become 20th club to call for an end to gambling sponsorship in football after visit from campaigners
Partick Thistle become 20th club to call for an end to gambling sponsorship in football after visit from campaigners | The Big Step

Thistle chief executive, Gerry Britton said: “We were very pleased to welcome The Big Step team to Firhill.

“As a club, we have staff and fans who have experienced first-hand the harm that gambling does and took the decision some time ago not to accept gambling sponsorship money.

“Addiction in all of its forms damages lives but hearing from people harmed by gambling about the levels of suicides related to gambling was a shock.

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“We’ve signed up to the campaign to play our part and support change and will do what we can to help going forward.”

Gambling adverts are widespread across all levels of football in the UK, often acting as the hook that draws first-time gamblers in, with millions going on to experience harm.

There are between 340,000 and 1.4 million adults addicted to gambling in the UK, as well as 55,000 children.

Gambling addiction has the highest suicide rate of any addiction, with those addicted up to 15 times more likely to end their lives than members of the general population.

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Partick Thistle become 20th club to call for an end to gambling sponsorship in football after visit from campaignersPartick Thistle become 20th club to call for an end to gambling sponsorship in football after visit from campaigners
Partick Thistle become 20th club to call for an end to gambling sponsorship in football after visit from campaigners | The Big Step

James Grimes, a former gambling addict who founded The Big Step, commented: “Partick Thistle’s support is a fantastic reward for our 60-mile walk at the weekend.

“The club were brilliant when we visited – with the chief executive serving the hot drinks himself!

“With the Gambling Act review in such a crucial phase, we applaud Partick Thistle’s commitment to the health of their young fans and the long-term sustainability of the game and encourage every club in the country to follow their example.”

The Big Step’s walk was supported by eight members of Scottish and UK Parliament, with three – Ronnie Cowan, Margaret Ferrier and Kaukab Stewart – joining for part of the walk.

The group also visited Premiership side Hearts, who made the decision not to accept direct gambling sponsorship money in 2014.

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