Hitchin Town make charity pledge after betting advert controversy

PUBLISHED: 10:59 01 March 2019 | UPDATED: 10:59 01 March 2019

Hitchin Town, who play at Top Field, have said the money made from the advert will be donated to charity. Picture: Archant

Hitchin Town, who play at Top Field, have said the money made from the advert will be donated to charity. Picture: Archant

Archant

Hitchin Town FC have pledge to donate money made from a betting advert on their website - placed there by the Southern League - to charity after criticism from supporters.

An advert for bookies BetVictor appeared on the club’s site last week, with fans raising concerns around encouraging gambling.

The club were quick to explain the situation in an official statement.

“We are a member club of the Southern League, and as such may from time to time have obligations to fulfil in relation to league directives, instructions and mandates,” it read.

“We were one of 18 clubs selected to undertake a six-week trial to advertise for potential new and lucrative sponsors for the Southern League.

“We therefore have an obligation to fulfil to the Southern League, and have gone about doing so as mandated for this six-week trial period, as have the other 17 clubs selected by the Southern League for this trial.

“Whatever personal or collective views may be held, it should also be remembered that an increasing number of leagues, clubs and cup competitions, even at the highest level, are at the present time being financially supported by betting companies.

“That is a fact of the time and environment in which we live, however it is viewed or received.”

The club confirmed that the money received will be donated, adding: “In Hitchin Town’s case, the club management committee has agreed that we will donate the fee that we receive from this trial to a suitable and worthy charity.

“We believe that, in the present circumstances, that is the most positive gesture we can make.”

The club are yet to confirm which charity they will donate the money to.

According to figures released by the National Audit Office last year, £7 billion is gambled each year and there are 600,000 ‘problem gamblers’ in the UK.

However, just five per cent seek help for their addiction and one per cent actually get treatment, while sports betting is among the five most addictive types of gambling.

The Comet has contacted the Southern League for comment, but has yet to receive a response.

For help and support for a gambling addiction, visit about.gambleaware.org.

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