Irish bookies close underage sport markets

Irish bookies close underage sport markets

Friday, June 10, 2016 Totally Gaming
Paddy Power and Boylesports have acted after criticism

Leading Ireland-based bookmakers Paddy Power and Boylesports have said they will no longer accept bets on under-18s sporting fixtures in the country.
The companies have made the decision in light of growing concerns in Ireland that betting markets are available for underage Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), football and rugby games along with schools matches.
The offering of odds on events involving minors has been criticised by the GAA, which runs sports such as hurling in Ireland, while former Minister for Sport Michael Ring recently told RTE Radio that he was “appalled” that existing legislation allowed the practice.
“Despite offering these markets for years it’s never come up as a contentious issue before,” Paddy Power said in a statement. “Some people wanted to bet on under-18s sports so we responded to that demand.
“Those customers may be disappointed that they will no longer be able to bet on these sports, especially when they’re on television or high-profile matches, but we understand that there is a general concern around the issue so we have responded.”
The move has been welcomed by the Gaelic Players’ Association (GPA) and follows a period of concern regarding gambling addiction among its members. A survey of GAA players carried out in 2014 found almost one quarter believed gambling to be a problem within the sport.

In a statement, the GAA said: “Gambling addiction has been identified as a growing concern for county footballers and hurlers over the past number of years, with 2015 showing the highest growth in numbers presenting with gambling addiction.
“As well as the immense reputational damage and personal devastation gambling addiction can have on a player and those close to him, the issue poses a very real threat to the reputation of inter-county football and hurling in general if the integrity of the games is compromised.”
Meanwhile, according to figures released by the Rutland Centre, which treats addicts in Ireland, the number of people coming forward with a gambling addiction has grown significantly in the last three years.
The Dublin clinic said three per cent of its addicts were gambling addicts in 2013, but this has now risen to almost 10 per cent.
Maebh Leahy, chief executive of the Rutland Centre, said that problem gambling will continue to increase unless the sector is more heavily regulated.

Speaking to the Irish Mirror newspaper, Leahy said: “Gambling is very much an emerging but serious addiction in Ireland. Unlike other addictions, gambling can be a well-hidden addiction but the personal and social cost can be enormous.
“The advertising for betting is 24/7, it’s everywhere and it is feeding into our culture, there is no national research on gambling addiction in this country so we don’t know the scale of the problem and the treatment for people is just too limited.” says: “Regulation in Ireland cannot come soon enough, with an expanding industry heavily criticised for perfectly legal operations and forced to make ad hoc decisions such as this.” 

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