Problems associated with gambling are increasing in Ireland – the Institute of Public Health estimates that up to 40,000 people could have a gambling disorder – and both Associations felt it was important to educate members about the issues involved. Two booklets containing guidelines on gambling and Gaelic games have been published and will be distributed nationally.Since the GPA established its Counselling Service for county players in 2010 with the support of the GAA, concerns about gambling addiction have risen as cases presenting to the service continue to increase.
Next to depression, problem gambling is the second highest issue causing emotional distress among the county playing body and this trend has wider implications for the GAA at all levels.
Speaking at the launch Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael Liam Ó Néill said: “Problem gambling is becoming a growing concern in modern Ireland. As part of the GAA’s on-going work in the area of health and wellbeing, the Association felt it timely to produce this booklet of basic guidelines as an educational resource for our players, members, and clubs.
“This document aims to assist GAA members in identifying what problem gambling is and to encourage those who may be experiencing a difficulty to seek support and assistance. It also highlights the strict regulations and consequences – both within GAA rule and the broader laws of the land – regarding match-fixing or the use of insider information for the financial gain of the individual or team concerned, or any third parties involved.”
GPA Chief Executive Dessie Farrell added: “Since our Counseling Service for county players started to reflect increasing problems among our membership with gambling, we felt it was necessary to isolate this issue and help educate our members as to the dangers.
“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.”
Gambling guidelines for clubs, their players, and their members can be downloaded from gaa.ie or for county players on gaelicplayers.com.
Alan Milton GAA Head of Media Relations + 353 1 8363222, firstname.lastname@example.org
Seán Potts, GPA Head of Communications +353 1 6520273, email@example.com