Concerns about the relationship between the betting industry and sport have reached the world of Gaelic sport this week, where a prominent players’ association has called for a ban.
The Gaelic Players Association (GPA) represents current and former players in the sports of Gaelic football and hurling, and their concerns about betting advertisements reflect a growing awareness of the risks of gambling addiction among sports players. The GPA has called on the governing body of Gaelic sport, the GAA, to ban all betting adverts during live sports broadcasts, by writing such a ban into the GAA rules.
In the UK, bookmakers have instituted a voluntary ban on advertising during live broadcasts of sports events before 21:00. But if the GAA agree to the GPA request, that would make them the first sports organisation to institute a ban on gambling advertisements. According to reports, the issue is set to be discussed by the GAA Central Council, and the GPA hope that a new rule could be in place by 2021.
The GPA’s argument is that gambling adverts represent an ongoing risk to players. In December last year, the Economic and Social Research Institute conducted a survey of inter-county Gaelic sports players. The survey found that 80% of players believed that their teammates took part in gambling, either every day or every week. Speaking about these findings, Paul Flynn, the CEO at the GPA, said that they showed that the issue was a serious one for inter-county players:
“Both the GAA and the GPA have long been leaders in this area and we’ll now work with Central Council to take another big step towards removing the link between gambling and our games.”
He said that many GPA members had suffered through gambling addiction and that by removing the link between games and betting advertising, they would be able to reduce the risk of vulnerable players developing a gambling problem.