Saturday 3 December 2016

Ring-fencing the odds in waffle stakes

Published 18/05/2016 | 02:30

You might have thought that as Minister for Sport in the last Government, Michael Ring would have known that most bookmakers offer extensive betting on underage games, especially in hurling and football (Picture: Tom Burke)
You might have thought that as Minister for Sport in the last Government, Michael Ring would have known that most bookmakers offer extensive betting on underage games, especially in hurling and football (Picture: Tom Burke)

Michael Ring is totally outraged. Mad as hell too. He wants action, not some time in the distant future but as soon as possible.

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"I have to say I'm appalled to learn that you now can gamble on school games and underage games. That should not be allowed," he told Morning Ireland.

You might have thought that as Minister for Sport in the last Government he would have known that most bookmakers offer extensive betting on underage games, especially in hurling and football.

It has been going for a very long time but is obviously more prevalent now in the online betting era.

The GAA has lobbied the Department of Justice to ban betting on underage games at a time when gambling addition is becoming an increasingly big problem.

So why didn't Ring do likewise from a position of strength when he was Minister for Sport?

He didn't elaborate on Morning Ireland and instead talked about how he would be lobbying the new Government to introduce legislation to amend the law.

Banning betting on underage sport - if indeed it's legally possible - won't make the slightest contribution to addressing the gambling issue but hey, it's a populist idea and Ring isn't one to miss out on a chance to play with the wind, preferably in both halves.

"This legislation goes back many years. It needs to be updated quickly," he said.

Truly, it's comedy central. He spent five years as Minister for Sport but now that he's gone (temporarily at least), it has become a big issue for him. And we're supposed to take it seriously.

Brand new politics - same old waffle.

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