GAA link up with bookies for betting crackdown
The GAA are linking up with bookmakers in an attempt to ensure that their new rule on gambling has maximum impact.
The Association have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Paddy Power Betfair and is in the process of completing a similar arrangement with the Irish Bookmakers' Association, which caters for the majority of firms.
Under the protocols, bookmakers will, if possible, draw the GAA's attention to instances of players, managers, teams or match officials betting on games where they are involved.
They will also report any unusual betting patterns.
Participants betting on games became an offence for the first time after Congress introduced a new rule last February. Breaches of the rule carry punishments ranging from a minimum eight-week ban to expulsion.
"Gambling is a concern that wasn't there in the past - certainly not to anything like the degree it is now. That's why we brought in the rule and why we have made the sanctions for breaking it so tough," said director-general Paraic Duffy.
Arrangements between bookmakers and international sporting organisations are common, and the GAA are hoping that their link-up will make it much more difficult for anyone who breaks the betting rule to remain undetected.
"It creates an understanding between us and the bookmakers in terms of protecting all sides and, most of all, the integrity of our games," said Colin Regan, GAA community and health manager.
While the new rule may be difficult to police, Regan said that anyone tempted to ignore it would take a huge chance.