Former footballer turned pundit Paul Merson has joined forces with Liverpool defender, Gilly Flaherty, and “Away Days” YouTube star Ellis Platten to star in a new film about gambling during major sporting events.

The film features all three opening up about their own experiences with gambling to raise awareness of the free gambling support and tools available via TalkBanStop – a partnership between GamCare, Gamban and GAMSTOP.

The film features the trio discussing their ‘pre-match rituals’ before a game, encouraging those impacted by gambling to adopt a new pre-match ritual to get the most out of the game, in the form of TalkBanStop.

Ex-Arsenal midfielder Merson has been vocal about his 30-year history of gambling and speaks candidly in the film on how blocking software tool, Gamban saved his life.

Merson commented: “It was great being part of the film to help raise awareness of the tools and support people can get through the TalkBanStop partnership. It’s so different these days watching big games and tournaments, years ago you would have to go to the bookies to place a bet but now your phone acts as a walking casino, the temptation is constant.

“By speaking to an advisor on GamCare’s Helpline, getting a free Gamban licence and signing up for GAMSTOP, people can put the barriers in place to ensure gambling doesn’t get in the way of the games ahead.”

YouTube star Platten shared an honest account of his gambling, revealing that he experienced serious gambling issues after placing his first bet at 14. Platten cites football as his gateway to gambling and admits that when struggling with gambling-related harm, he’d lost all enjoyment in the sport he once loved.

Platten said: “Gambling problems can happen to anyone at any age. I first started gambling on football at 14, and whilst I thought it was innocent fun with my friends, it began to manifest into a bigger problem which resulted in me losing my love for the game. I’ve now been bet free for five years and have fallen back in love with football. I’m thrilled to be part of the TalkBanStop campaign to help raise awareness of the free tools available to help people struggling with gambling.”

Liverpool defender Gilly Flaherty discussed her indirect experience, having seen loved ones and ex- teammates experience gambling issues. In the film, Flaherty speaks as an ‘affected other’, as she opens up about witnessing the highs and lows of loved ones who’ve been caught up chasing their losses when gambling.

Flaherty added: “I’m so pleased to have been part of the TalkBanStop film to help raise awareness of the free support available to those suffering from gambling-related harms. I have seen loved ones and ex-teammates struggle with gambling, so it’s extremely important to me that I help highlight the tools and support available to help those facing similar issues.”

Anna Hemmings, CEO at GamCare, said: “At GamCare, we know that major sporting tournaments can be challenging for those struggling with gambling. From the office sweepstakes, increased gambling advertising and a busy line up of fixtures, the temptation to place bets will be heightened and we know many people will be worried that gambling could get in the way of their enjoyment of the games.

“Paul and Ellis’s stories show that gambling can affect anyone at any time, and we urge anyone who may feel in the same position as they were to be inspired by them and use the free support is available. Just like Paul and Ellis, through seeking help, you can start to enjoy football again.

“We want anyone struggling with gambling to know that, through TalkBanStop, people have the perfect pre-match ritual to help remove the temptation. Anyone can call the National Gambling Helpline now for free on 0808 8020 133 and join over 10,000 others who have started their recovery.”

Football personalities promote TalkBanStop