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  1. ITV Report

Football clubs urged to take Big Step and review their gambling sponsorship

The Big Step challenge setting off from Manchester's Etihad studium Photo: ITV Granada

A recovering gambling addict from Manchester is leading a campaign urging football clubs to be more aware of the dangers of problem gambling.

James Grimes, who's 28 and hasn't gambled for almost a year, wants clubs to review their relationship with gambling sponsors.

He's leading a group of walkers in the Big Step Challenge, which has set off from the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, taking in eight other clubs who have gambling sponsors on their shirts and finishing at Old Trafford.

On Monday the group arrive at Bolton Wanderers stadium and plan to talk to officials about what clubs can do to help fans who are at risk of developing major gambling problems.

"The Big Step challenge stems from my own experience as a recovering gambling addict and understanding that the exposure to gambling through football from a young age made this worse. I want football clubs to take the Big Step and think what they

– James Grimes , leading the Big Step Challenge
The Big Step Challenge set off from the Etihad Stadium taking in six clubs Credit: ITV Granada

"Bolton Wanderers fully supports responsible gambling - we are wholly behind the Big Step Challenge and wish the walkers well. "

– Bolton Wanderers Club spokesperson

There are 340,000 adult gambling addicts in the UK, with a further 55,000 aged 11-16, and 2 million more "at risk"

Research indicates that gambling addicts are 15 times more likely to take their own lives.

The walkers are raising money for the Gambling with Lives charity Credit: ITV Granada

The group aim to raise money for Gambling with Lives which was set up by families and friends of young men who had taken their lives as a result of gambling.

TheBig Step Challenge aims to raise awareness of the dangers of problem gambling, particularly for young people and football fans