Clubs across the UK have been urged to stop linking to gambling websites via their social media due to the potential harm it can cause to fans.
A group of 50 former gambling addicts and others that have been directly affected by gambling, have written to 11 teams from the Premier League, English Football League (EFL) and the Scottish Premiership, shining a light on how clubs provide match odds and links to gambling sites whilst revealing starting line-ups on social media.
The letter, which has been co-ordinated by charity the 'Big Step' has been supported by member of parliament, including Carolyn Harris, Iain Duncan Smith and Ronnie Cowan, as well as leading clinicians who share the view that advertisement of gambling on social media, from the club themselves, shouldn't be permitted. There are particular concerns for the younger generation who use social media in particular.
The 11 clubs to have received the letter are: Arsenal, Birmingham City, Burnley, Celtic, Coventry City, Manchester City, Newcastle United, Norwich City, Nottingham Forest, Leicester City and Watford.
The letter highlights pre-match tweets that appear to "encourage" fans to engage with betting websites with match odds and advertisement of betting offers.
The news follows a government review of the Gambling Act 2005, with a possible look into a blanket-ban on betting sponsorships across sport in the UK, which would prevent sports teams from being able to partner with the gambling industry.
A segment of the letter reads: "It's painful to see brands associated with unimaginable harm when doing something as simple as checking their team's starting line-up on Twitter. We hope that you will take this request seriously and we look forward to seeing your social media channels free of direct gambling promotion soon."
Speaking to BBC Sport, an Arsenal spokesperson said: "Our partnership with SportsBet is founded on a joint commitment to promote safe and responsible gambling. We are pleased to partner with an industry-leading organisation that takes its social and regulatory responsibility extremely seriously.
"We would encourage anyone struggling with gambling to seek confidential and professional support at www.gamstop.co.uk."
Author: Jake Wilkin