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Maidstone United is the 30th club to back The Big Step!

Maidstone United has become the first National League club to call for a ban on all gambling advertising and sponsorship in football

The Stones join 30 clubs across the UK and Ireland, including Luton Town, Tranmere Rovers, Forest Green Rovers, Glasgow City, Billericay Town, Drogheda United and Sligo Rovers, to back our campaign to end all gambling advertising and sponsorship in football.

Last season Maidstone United were promoted to the National League – the fifth tier of English football – after finishing the National League South as champions. 

Bill Williams, chief executive of Maidstone United, said: 

“I can remember a time when the tobacco industry dominated sports advertising and sponsorship. For the reasons that was banned for the impact on physical health, I can foresee the same happening here for the impact it can have on a person’s mental health. I wish those behind The Big Step the very best in achieving their aims.”

Long-awaited gambling reforms have been delayed time and time again while gambling companies’ bad practices continue to make the headlines. Earlier this week it was discovered EFL clubs had profited directly from their own fans’ losses on Sky Bet as part of the league sponsorship deal. This revelation came days after Betway was fined £400,000 for containing clickable gambling adverts on the children’s section of West Ham’s website.  

Gambling harm impacts millions across the UK while the industry spends £1.5billion each year on marketing. Public Health England estimates there are 409 gambling-related suicides in England every year.   

James Grimes, founder of The Big Step and formerly addicted to gambling added:       

“We are thrilled to have the backing of Maidstone United, the first National League club to support our campaign – especially in the week where we learn clubs in our football league are taking a cut of fans losses to Sky Bet. This announcement from Maidstone restores faith in football for those of us harmed by gambling. 

“There are now 30 clubs calling for an end to all gambling advertising in football and the government must learn from these commendable examples of clubs from all levels of football who are evidently surviving without gambling advertising revenues. Football is watched by young fans at all levels and that’s why the government must act urgently.”