Former gamblers demonstrate at Wembley Stadium, calling for a stop to football betting advertisements.
In protest of betting advertisements aired at the 2020 Uefa European Football Championship, a group of former gambling addicts and bereaved family are walking from Scotland to London.
Thirty members of the campaign group The Big Step will walk 300 miles across the country over the course of ten days, stopping at football stadiums along the way.
Some of the people connected with The Big Step have lost loved ones to gambling-related suicides. Others, including James Grimes, the founder of The Big Step and program manager at Gambling With Lives, were pushed to the edge of suicide.
Mr Grimes told the PA news agency that he immediately realized he couldn’t watch football without wanting to place a bet because the advertising was so stimulating.
Chris Gilham, one of the walkers, said he wanted to commit suicide after taking out a £25,000 loan and squandering it in two hours on a gamble.
“I sat there and intended to commit suicide,” he claimed.
“The aim was to gain enough money to bequeath to my wife and two children,” says the author.
After he lost, he stated he had to choose between “finding rehabilitation or ending it all.”
“I consider myself extremely fortunate to have discovered recovery. I went to my first Gamblers Anonymous meeting that same week,” he stated.
“Every time we watch football, we’re urged to ‘bet now, bet more, play now,’ and it’s just not fair,” Mr Grimes added.
“We are urging broadcasters to halt gambling advertisements during the Euros for the sake of the millions of English, Welsh, and Scottish fans who will be tuning in.
“National tournaments are special in that they appear to involve the entire country, which is why they shouldn’t be utilized solely to advertise addictive products.”
The march passes through Old Trafford, the Ricoh Arena, and Stadium MK before ending at Wembley on Sunday, when England takes on Croatia in their first Euros match.
Also included. (This is a brief piece.)