McMillan shows his support for #CanWeHaveOurBallBack campaign

• GambleAware’s social media campaign highlights the close relationship between betting and football
• New analysis shows 80% of marketing spend by gambling companies is now online

Stuart McMillan MSP is lending his support to a social media initiative that seeks to raise awareness and encourage discussion about the relationship between football and betting. GambleAware’s #CanWeHaveOurBallBack is designed to generate conversation, prompt reflection about the impact of betting on football, and ask the question whether betting is taking away the nations’ love of football.

The launch of the national conversation comes off the back of recent financial analysis by GambleAware and gambling-industry specialists Regulus Partners that shows 80% of marketing spend by gambling companies is now online.

This surge in online spending coincides with growing concern about the nature and extent of gambling-related marketing and whether it has led to the normalisation of gambling for children. Recent figures released by the Gambling Commission show that 450,000 children spend their own money on gambling, and that 55,000 children are problem gamblers.

Commenting, the Greenock and Inverclyde MSP said:

“This is an important initiative which brings much needed attention to a growing issue in our community. Football is a game that is enjoyed by people of all ages, but without a frank discussion about the recent uptick in gambling-related marketing, we are in danger of forgetting the reasons we fell in love with the sport in the first place.

“I hope this initiative encourages local fans to reconsider their relationship with betting and football, and remember that ultimately football is about winning goals, rather than bets.”

Marc Etches, GambleAware’s Chief Executive, commented:

“We recognise that gambling-related sponsorship and advertising are important sources of funding for both professional football and grass-roots community participation in the sport. However, there is growing public concern about the nature and extent of the relationship between football and betting. In particular, whether the extent of betting-related marketing around football is contributing to the normalisation of gambling for children.

“This film-led initiative is intended to appeal to anyone who loves football. We hope it will encourage them to reflect on why they love the game, and whether the current relationship between football and betting is undermining what it means to be an authentic fan.

“We are not advocating any specific solutions, but we do want to invite anyone interested to take part in the conversation, thereby helping us to raise awareness of gambling as a public health issue, and to reduce the harms that arise. You can help to do this simply by sharing the film across your social media channels using the #CanWeHaveOurBallBack.”

The #CanWeHaveOurBallBack online video is directed by BAFTA nominee Scott Lyon, and can be viewed here.

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