PETERBOROUGH United owner Darragh MacAnthony has written off Wanderers’ decision to sever all links with gambling companies as “virtue signalling”.

Speaking on his podcast, The Hard Truth, the Posh chief maintained that cash from betting firms remains an important part of football’s economy.

Football Ventures announced last week that all gambling kiosks and sponsor boards for betting companies would be removed from the University of Bolton Stadium.

Chief executive, Neil Hart, said the move was about “doing the right thing” adding: “We just felt, with the saturation of betting advertising around football, we didn’t need to be a part of that.

“We are not saying to supporters don't bet, but we aren't going to provide you with that opportunity within the stadium and it's something we believed in.

“The early indication is its been received very positively and our supporters are very much aligned with us.”

MacAnthony was asked what he made of the stance taken by Wanderers.

“Do you want my truthful answer? I don’t do virtue signalling,” he said.

“I’d have respected the decision more if when they were in administration and they owed loads of people money and hadn’t paid players’ wages, they came out and made that decision then and said ‘do you know what, this is the way forward for the club, this is what we are going to do’.

“Listen, each to their own, I can’t be over-critical because I can’t criticise how other people run their club, and they have done a great job at Bolton since they have gone in there, brought them back from League Two to League One, got a really well put together football team, they have got a really good manager. I don’t know how they are doing financially, but I presume they are doing OK and they are obviously servicing all the commitments they took over after the mess that came before.

“But I am not a fan of all of that. We live in a world where – and this isn’t a dig at Bolton – but they want to take things away from you. They want to take your freedom of choice away and I see the press go on about it ‘gambling this, gambling that, we shouldn’t be doing this, we shouldn’t be doing that.’ “SkyBet are like the biggest sponsor in our league and it is not illegal to gamble. I get what they are saying and that it causes addiction and people lose their livelihoods, but they all have a choice, I have a choice to take a drink, not take a drink, and I have an addictive personality. Do I gamble? Not overly because I know my own personality and if I did it too much I’d be in too deep. Drink too much, I’m going to drink too much. So I choose to move away – I don’t blame sports for throwing it on TV. I don’t blame the Superbowl every time a Budweiser advert comes on. I take ownership for my decision.

“For everyone out there to virtue signal and say ‘it’s the right thing to do’ and we shouldn’t have sponsors with the Devil, i.e. betting companies, I have said before I don’t care if it’s a d***o company that gives me £20million a year for the naming rights on our stadium, at the end of the day my job is to make sure the lights are on at my football ground and can pay my staff. In this horrible financial time for football clubs we need the income necessary to keep going. That is my responsibility to our fans.

“Some will say my responsibility to fans is to make sure they don’t get addicted to gambling but no, I run a business. I don’t run a charity or a foundation, that’s separate from football.

“I run a business which is based on income, turnover and expenditure and if some legal company wants to give us copious amounts of money to help us improve our facilities and put more money into our community, improve everything about us as a football club and a city, I am going to take the money.

“And I know that is not going to sound popular and all these journalists who go on and on about it and that I sound like the Devil even saying that; well, you don’t own a football club, you don’t know what you are f*****g talking about, you just write about it.

“You do you and I’ll do me. If that is what Bolton want to do then fair f*****g play.”