Updated: Oct 29
On Saturday 17th July the gambling harms / recovery community, family and friends, all came together at the home of Billericay Town Football club, to watch a charity football match between the All Bets Are Off podcast and charity YouTube football team, Peoples FC.
The teams were comprised of individuals harmed by gambling and players from the Peoples FC to create two evenly-matched and well-balanced squads. The All Bets Are Off team was managed by co-host of the pod Chris' father John Gilham, whilst Peoples FC were led by Steve Watts, the founder of GamFam.
Our friends at Gamban sponsored the match in the name of the TalkBanStop campaign which they are a part of, alongside GamCare and GAMSTOP. EPIC Risk Management were our matchball sponsors and kindly provided nine brand new Premier League footballs for the warm-up and match itself.
A number of our allies from within the gambling harms education, prevention and treatment world supported us by purchasing advertising space in the matchday programme. They include RecoverMe, Gambling Guardian, Reframe Coaching, Betknowmore, Deal Me Out and EPIC Restart Foundation. This helped to cover the cost of printing and so every programme sold could go towards the three causes that we were raising money for (you can download a PDF version of the matchday programme below).
The event was incredibly well received by everyone who participated and the sepctators, many of whom work within gambling harm prevention and/or whom campaign for positive legislative change. We were also joined by representatives from NHS mental wellbeing service VitaMinds, who gave a talk on the subject of mental health.
Prior to kick-off the players and spectators held an extremely emotional one minute applause for all those that had lost their lives to gambling-related harms and mental health problems.
It was an incredibly hot day but that didn't impact the quality of football on display. The All Bets Are Off team triumped 4-3 in a pulsating, yet very close, game of football.
Collectively we were able to raise £2370.06, which was split between the following three chosen causes: NHS Northern Gambling Service, Gamvisory's Hardship Fund and Rosie's Legs. Each receiving £790.02.
At the full-time whistle many people commented on how much that they had enjoyed the day and were already asking us whether this would be an annual event. Given its success we can confirm that we will be making this a permanent fixture. We would like to thank everyone that came and supported us and all those that contributed, Billericay Town Football Club for being magnificent hosts as always, and the fantastic volunteers who ran the gate and car park for us.
The full 90-minute match can be found on YouTube by clicking here.