Edinburgh City FC become first Scottish club to back campaign to end gambling ads in football

We are are supporting The Big Step’s campaign to end all gambling advertising and sponsorship in football. By doing so, we have become the first Scottish football club to back the campaign and call for a ban.

The Big Step is a grassroots project, part of the charity Gambling with Lives, that campaigns to ‘kick gambling ads out of football’. They have recently completed a 10-day 300-mile walk, which saw over 30 people harmed by gambling walk all the way from Scotland to Wembley, calling on broadcasters to suspend gambling adverts during their coverage of Euro 2020.

Tragically, there are an estimated 250–650 gambling-related suicides in the UK each year[1], with gambling addicts up to 15 times more like to take their own lives than members of the general population[2]. There are between 430,000 and 1.2 million people addicted to gambling the UK.

The Big Step’s campaign has won the support of several MPs, including Ronnie Cowan of the Scottish National Party, together with Labour’s Carolyn Harris, Paul Blomfield, Zarah Sultana and Dawn Butler.

Jim Brown, chairman of Edinburgh City FC, said:

“We decided it was time to adopt an ethical approach to all our partnerships; the pandemic has shown just how much football has the potential to be an immense power for good, so it makes sense to us to reinforce only positive messages both for physical and mental health. We are delighted to support The Big Step in their campaign as we share the same core value of trying to change the existing reliance on gambling in Scottish football.”

Gambling advertising is rife in Scottish football, with both the country’s top teams, Rangers and Celtics, sponsored by gambling companies. Until recently, the Scottish League Cup and the Scottish Premiership were sponsored by William Hill and Ladbrokes respectively.

Our support comes at a time when pressure is mounting on the Government to make tangible changes to existing legislation during their current review of the 2005 Gambling Act. The results of the review are due by the end of the year.

James Grimes, Founder of The Big Step and formerly addicted to gambling said:

“We are thrilled to have the support of Edinburgh City during a pivotal time for gambling reform in this county. For most of us involved with The Big Step, the harmful relationship between gambling and football was the gateway for years of addiction – if only our clubs had taken this stance, things may have been different for us.

Football doesn’t promote tobacco because of the health risks – It’s now time more for more clubs to replicate ECFC commendable stance on advertising gambling, which is causing harm to millions of people.”

Further info

The Big Step

The Big Step is a charity project that was formed and is run by people with lived experience of gambling harm. Their campaign revolves around ending gambling advertising and sponsorship in football, and now forms a constituent part of the wider Gambling with Lives campaign. You can find out more here

Gambling with Lives

Gambling with Lives was set up by the families and friends of young people who had taken their own lives as a direct result of gambling. You can find out more here.


The Big Step

James Grimes, Founder

Phone: 07518 347610

Email: james@gamblingwithlives.org

[1] https://238317bb-a8fb-4ec4-89e8-33db4ae69de7.filesusr.com/ugd/c47eec_88786e30f40c41349022ec09f745f1b8.pdf

[2] https://238317bb-a8fb-4ec4-89e8-33db4ae69de7.filesusr.com/ugd/c47eec_1326d137ea394e4ea9c642043053dab9.pdf