The Cityzens join over 30 clubs across the UK and Ireland, including Premier League newcomers Luton Town, to back The Big Step.
Gambling harm impacts millions across the UK, while the industry spends £ 1.5 billion each year on marketing. Public Health England estimates there are up to 496 gambling-related suicides in England every year. A recent report found that gambling logos can appear up to 3500 times during a single televised game.
Ryan Sheehan, the Marketing, Communications and Engagement Manager at Reading City said:
“Reading City Football Club are pleased to commit to helping eliminate harmful gambling ads, which are a scourge on our beautiful game.
“We’re proud to sit at the heart of our community and as a result we strive to be recognised not just as a football club but a force for good within the immediate community and beyond, providing opportunities for participation in a range of sporting, social and cultural activities in the hope that these will lead to health and wellbeing benefits.
Many people who suffer from a gambling addiction sadly lose their homes, so this new partnership with the Big Step also ties in nicely with our pledge to our Charity Partner, Launchpad who are Reading’s homeless prevention charity that ‘Together we can prevent homelessness across Reading’.”
A spokesperson for The Big Step said:
“We are thrilled to have the backing of Reading City. There are now more than 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.”