Gaelic sports call for end to betting on minors

Gaelic sports call for end to betting on minors

Wednesday, August 12, 2015 Totally Gaming
GAA is to petition for a change to Ireland's gambling laws

The body that runs Gaelic sports in Ireland has called on the government to ban betting on games involving players under the age of 18.

The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), which regulates hurling and Gaelic football among other sports, believes it is wrong that betting markets are currently offered on minor matches at inter-county level, despite the players not being old enough to gamble themselves.

The GAA’s community and health department proposed the measure to the association’s Central Council, which approved it at its most recent meeting last month and agreed to take it to the Government.

“Players under 18 can’t bet and there’s an anomaly there that others can bet on them,” said GAA communications manager Alan Milton. “I think the main tenor would be that this should be extended to all sports involving under-18s.

“I think the general sentiment is that this should be the case for all codes where under-18s are playing, but obviously we don’t administer those and can only influence activity around Gaelic games.”

If the change was made to the 2013 Gambling Control Bill it would only effect betting within Ireland itself.

Last year the GAA and Gaelic Players Association (GPA) launched new guidelines for club and county players, noting a rise in problem gambling in Ireland identified by the Institute of Public Health. The GPA said that during 2012, gambling addiction accounted for one-third of cases dealt with by its free counselling service.

At the time, GPA chief executive Dessie Farrell said: “There are two major areas of concern for the GPA – the rise in gambling addiction and the potential for match fixing or spot fixing down the line. While the numbers suffering with addiction are still relatively small, they are rising.

“Thankfully we have had no evidence to date of any irregularities around players betting, we are acutely aware of the problems experienced in other sports.”

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