Campaign to raise awarness of ‘crisis’ of problem gambling among UK footballers

  • Research shows professional sportspeople three times more likely to become gambling addicts
  • Players Association working with GambleAware to raise awareness among footballers

A new campaign to warn UK footballers about the dangers of problem gambling will be launched today, as experts warn that gambling addition in football is at a crisis point and addiction centres are reporting a surge in sportspeople being referred for treatment.

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The campaign is being co-ordinated by the Professional Players Federation (PPF) and GambleAware, and includes a self-help tool that professional sports people can use to assess whether they have a problem. The PPF, which represent a number of elite players across a range of sports, has also committed to campaigning to ensure that bookmaker sponsorship deals in sport include mandatory education to raise awareness of problem gambling.

Three years ago, the PPF published research that showed professional sportspeople were up to three times more likely than non-sportspeople to develop gambling addiction.

The report also showed that one in ten footballers gambled to ‘fit in’ and that one in four had been encouraged to gamble by a team-mate. The Sporting Chance Clinic, which treats sportspeople for addiction, has also revealed a surge in gambling-related problems, which it says account for the majority of its referrals.

Gambling-related harm

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The campaign, which includes a website: www.ppf.org.uk/pg, will be launched today at GambleAware’s annual Harm-Minimisation Conference, held in London.

The site will include film testimonies from ex-Premier League footballers Clarke Carlisle and John Hartson, who both fought to overcome gambling addiction.

The Chief Executive of GambleAware, Marc Etches, said that the campaign will help to educate players about the risk of gambling addiction, but that football clubs could do more.

“This isn’t a job for the PPF alone, and we’re keen to see more clubs think more deeply about the impact of gambling-related harm on their players and fans alike,” he said.

The website offers helpful advice on minimizing the risk of developing gambling addiction, including never gambling while drinking, limiting the time and money spent on gambling, keeping a record of gambling activity, and not chasing losses.

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