Bolton Wanderers have announced that they are cutting ties with betting - with the club's chair saying that 'problem gambling ruins lives'.
Fans will no longer be able to place bets at the University of Bolton Stadium and the club will not enter into any new commercial partnerships or sponsorships with the gambling industry.
While the club will be respectful of the EFL’s commercial partnerships and that of other clubs, their position regarding betting provision and betting sponsorship is now clear.
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Instead, the club will be looking to support charities and organisations that seek to provide help for those suffering from betting addiction.
Chairman Sharon Brittan said: “Problem gambling ruins lives and we’ve taken this stance to show our support for those who are suffering from a betting addiction.
“Latest research shows that there are between 340,000 and 1.4 million adult gambling addicts in the UK and over 60,000 young people aged between 11 and 16 are addicted.
“We as an industry must do more and through our work with Bolton Wanderers in the Community, Bolton Wanderers Football Club will support outreach programmes for those who experience gambling problems.”
Bolton Wanderers CEO, Neil Hart, added: “We recognise that some people do want to bet and also that the league has a commercial partnership with a gambling company in place - and we are respectful of this.
"However, we will not take part in any activity to promote gambling outside the existing EFL contractual requirements.
“This means that we will not provide match day betting kiosks or enter into any new agreements with gambling companies."
Bolton Wanderers will continue to run a club lottery which raises money for club-related good causes and supporter engagement projects.
"We will continue to provide this support for our local community and our amazing supporters," Mr Hart said.
“As a club which is at the heart of our community, we want to support those who are suffering as a consequence of gambling addiction."
In partnership with Bolton Council, Bolton Wanderers in the Community are launching their Team Talk project, a mental health project designed to provide a ‘safe space’ to talk for men.
Team Talk will be delivered within community settings and aims to provide a support network for anyone who may be in need of additional support. It is open to men aged 18+ and will enable them to have conversations around mental health and wellbeing including coping mechanisms, peer to peer support, recognising triggers in an informal and relaxed setting and often able to connect through a common interest in football and Bolton Wanderers.
"Gambling addictions can affect individuals’ mental health, causing low self-esteem, stress, anxiety and depression. There’s also a strong link between gambling problems and thoughts of suicide. If you have a mental health problem, you’re more at risk of harmful gambling," Bolton Wanderers said.
For anyone who is interested in the project contact Carl Halliwell ( [email protected] ) or call Bolton Wanderers in the Community (01204 673 790).
Bolton Wanderers FC and Bolton Wanderers in the Community have also partnered with Bolton based charity Whysup who raise awareness on addiction and mental health. It delivers prevention, awareness presentations and workshops across education, business and sport.
It also provides support to those in need through its community and support provision.
Whysup Co-Director Mark Murray said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with our hometown club, on what is a very important issue. I know first-hand the impact that gambling related harm can have on a person’s wellbeing.
"I suffered from a gambling addiction for 13 years and have had to work hard to turn my life around. Reaching out and asking for help can be a huge step and a lifesaving one."
If you’re struggling, you can book in a support call with Whysup or seek further advice through their website.
For further support with gambling addiction, please also visit Gambling with Lives.