Saturday 10 December 2016

Gambling in GAA is spiralling out of control

Gaelic Games

Michael Verney and John Fallon

Published 16/12/2015 | 02:30

Galway chairman Noel Treacy
Galway chairman Noel Treacy

Galway chairman Noel Treacy has called on GAA authorities to act swiftly as “gambling in Gaelic games reaches crisis point”.

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Treacy feels many young members are becoming “victims” of the addiction which is spiralling out of control.

The Padraig Pearses clubman was approached by parents who were “distraught” at the level of gambling by their children and other young people involved in the GAA.

“Parents feel that there has been an environment created for their children to bet on these situations and there is a serious amount of betting on games,” Treacy told the Irish Independent.

“Individuals, groups and syndicates are betting and this is very serious issue for the Association. Parents are worried their kids will get entrapped.

“We have a lot of players around this country, both club and county, who are victims of online gambling and other forms of betting. We need to do something to restrict it.”

Treacy described pictures on social media earlier this year which showed players collecting their winning bets after a Galway senior hurling game.

“Gambling is now reaching crisis proportions in Gaelic games,” Treacy said. “We have had to deal with serious gambling issues for individual members and players, in both codes, over the past few years.”

The problem was further highlighted when Mulholland bookmakers were forced to close the book on the vacant Galway senior hurling job when all 37 bets placed within the first two hours of trading were on Micheal Donoghue.

These revelations come on the back of the FAI’s four-year deal with TrackChamp which requires an active online betting account to see the domestic soccer action when abroad.

Treacy, who will take charge of Galway GAA for his fifth and final year, believes encouraging potentially addictive and destructive behaviour is dangerous to people’s health and sees no end in sight unless action is taken.

“I don’t have the solutions or the answers but I know what the problem is and what the ramifications of the problems are for individuals and families,” he said. “I believe the Association needs to look at it and come up with a structure that would reduce it, minimise it and help prevent it. You need a group of people to see what could be done and come up with recommendations.”

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