'Big Step' to pass through Luton during 300 mile walk from Scotland to Wembley
A group of 30 people harmed by gambling will pass through Luton tomorrow (Saturday) during a 300 mile walk from Scotland to Wembley.
The 'Big Step' walk is a grassroots campaign founded by people whose lives were impacted by gambling, part of the charity Gambling with Lives.
The campaign is calling on broadcasters to suspend all gambling advertising during their coverage of Euro 2020.
The walk is now in its fifth year and this trek is by far the biggest. Participants set off from Gretna on June 4 on a mission to walk nearly 300 miles over 10 days, arriving at Wembley Stadium on June 13, ahead of England’s game against Scotland on June 18.
James Grimes, founder of the Big Step, who was formerly addicted to gambling, said: “Football has been a beacon of hope throughout the pandemic and the Euros should be a reason to celebrate as the recovery from it continues, and not be a platform to promote addictive and harmful gambling products.
“Promoting gambling, including products with addiction rates of up to 50 per cent, is a huge contradiction to the good work that football does, which is why we believe gambling adverts and sponsorship should have no place in football.”
Stacey Goodwin, who is recovering from gambling addiction and will be joining her first Big Step walk, said: “I am walking with the Big Step because for eight years of my life I believed I was the only young woman in the world to suffer with a gambling addiction to the extent that I did, to a point where I almost lost my life.
"I am walking to let other young women know that they are not on their own. This addiction does not discriminate: no matter your age, gender, or ethnicity, this addiction can take hold.”
Since 2019, the Big Step has been campaigning to reduce gambling-related harm in the UK by tackling the growing advertising of gambling in football.
At the beginning of the 2020/21 season, 85 per cent of Premier League and 75 per cent of Championship clubs listed a gambling sponsor or partner. As a result, the charity claims a gambling brand is now visible up to 89 per cent of the time on Match of the Day, which is watched by up to seven million people each week.
On Saturday, the walkers will start their daily trek from MK Dons Football Club - walking across Bedfordshire until they end their day at Luton Town Football Club.
Find out how to take part in the remote event or join the main walk visit here.
Sign the open letter to broadcasters, visit https://the-bigstep.com/sign-our-open-letter.