GAA and GPA proceed to battle for higher gambling laws

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THE GAA and GPA say they will continue to push for better government legislation to address the growing problems related to problem gambling.

While the UK government is currently considering banning sports teams with betting company logos on their jerseys, the Irish government is dragging on to introduce new online gambling laws.

The College of Psychiatrists of Ireland in December called for an "urgent ban" on advertising gambling in sports, saying Covid-19 was feeding an already "hidden epidemic" and a "public health crisis".

In 2018, the GAA took the admirable step, with the support of 93 percent of the delegates at the annual congress, to introduce a total ban on sponsorship for gambling companies.

As a result, the GPA filed an application last year, which advocates the ban on gambling advertising by broadcasters during ATM games.

This has been passed on to the Central Council, and while the ability to implement it resides in improved government legislation, the players say they will continue to fight around the corner.

"This is something we will continue to do our utmost to promote when it comes to banning advertisements while live games are being broadcast," said Jennifer Rogers, GPA's Player Welfare Manager.

"As soon as Covid-19 settles down again, it will be prioritized. We take every opportunity to make change, but our main concern is taking care of the players and making sure the support is there for them when they need it. "

Armagh forward Stefan Campbell was the youngest high profile player to speak of gambling problems in an interview with Oisin McConville, whose 2007 book The Gambler, which primarily focused on his fight, had started the conversation.

A 2018 ESRI report jointly commissioned by the GAA and GPA reported that up to 80 percent of players felt they had teammates playing “daily or weekly”.

The GPA helps inter-county gamblers who are experiencing gambling problems, but former Leitrim footballer Colin Regan, GAA community and health manager, says the statutory health services in Ireland that would take care of ordinary club members are "poor" .

Regan believes that the government needs to propose legislative changes regarding gambling advertising in sports.

"I hope that I can look back in a generation and see a whole culture change within the gaming squad.

“I hope we are also looking back on something from a legislative perspective that is similar to the change in tobacco advertising in sport. We look back now and consider how we can allow this association to be so dominant and prevalent at this time. & # 39 ;. They hope we have evolved as a society, ”he said.

Irish punters rank third in per capita losses in any country in the world, pumping € 14 million a day into an industry that has seen another surge in growth during the pandemic.

The GAA's approach of banning sponsorship is in contrast to other major sports. In last season's Premier League, gambling companies appeared on the front of 10 clubs' shirts and sponsored a combined £ 69million.