All bets are off as bookies drop Arsenal legend Paul Merson
26 March 2009 09:55
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A bookmaker has dropped former gambling addict Paul Merson from its advertising campaign. Ian Hogg, managing director of Better, said the decision was made after the firm received 'lots' of complaints.
Ex-England star Merson (right), 41, formerly of Arsenal, Middlesbrough, Aston Villa and Portsmouth, has fought a well-documented gambling addiction.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live's Richard Bacon Show, Mr Hogg said: 'We've obviously caused some offence to people and we are pulling the campaign.
'We have no wish to cause any offence or inflame gambling as an issue.'
Mr Hogg told the show that he had responded to criticism of the move.
'We've received lots of complaints,' he said.
But Mr Hogg stressed that he retained a good relationship with Merson.
'We like Paul a lot,' he said. 'I wouldn't want it to be seen in any way that we didn't want to work with Paul.'
He said it was possible the firm would work with Merson over publicising an 'anti problem-gambling message'.
Merson, who is now best known as a football pundit on Sky Television, had been approached at a social event to take on the role.