The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) is taking steps to combat an increase in betting among GAA members. Their Health and Wellbeing Committee plans to make a submission to February’s Congress that will ban their players from betting on any games they are involved in.
Currently, according to the GAA rulebook, players are not prohibited from betting on either their own team or the opposition. The committee is busy finalising the wording of the proposal for club, college and inter-country players.
“The health and well-being committee are bringing a submission to congress in February that no player would be allowed to gamble on any of his own competitions, be it club or county,” announced Justin Campbell, former Galway hurler, addiction counsellor and member of the health and well-being committee.
“This is a step forward, but it is probably only the first step. In fairness to Croke Park, they’re not shirking responsibility.”
According to Campbell, many sports players use gambling as a way to relax as drugs and alcohol are avoided due to the physically toll they take on their bodies.
“Placing a bet may be an easier out or way to relax and blow off a bit of steam,” he said. “That is why placing a bet is more appealing to sporting players that have to watch their diets and their bodies.”
Besides for reducing the risk of problem gambling among athletes, the laws also aim to maintain the integrity of sport.
“There is always a fear that people, down the line, may back the opposition to win. If that happens, then the integrity of the sport is damaged.”
“I’m not saying for a second that this is going on, but this would affect every part of the game in so far as being successful as a team and having boundaries.”