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Two leading bookmakers to stop taking bets on underage sports events in Ireland

Paddy Power and BoyleSports have taken the decision.

Paddy Power and Boyle Sports have both made the decision.
Paddy Power and Boyle Sports have both made the decision.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Updated at 21.30pm

TWO OF IRELAND’S biggest bookmaker firms are to stop taking bets on underage sports events.

Paddy Power and BoyleSports have both made the decision in light of growing concerns recently that there were betting markets available for underage GAA, soccer and rugby games along with schools matches.

Former Minister for Sport Michael Ring revealed to Morning Ireland in March that he was ‘appalled’ that the legislation allowed bookmakers to offer odds on underage sports games.

Both Paddy Power and BoyleSports have confirmed in statements to The42 this afernoon that they have taken the decision.

“We are no longer taking bets on any U18 or Schools matches in Ireland,” a Paddy Power spokesperson stated.

“We made the decision independently as we understand that some people have concerns about betting being available on U18 sports, we’ve listened and are happy to act.

“Despite offering these markets for years it’s never come up as a contentious issue before. Some people wanted to bet on U18′s sports so we responded to that demand.

“Those customers may be disappointed that they will no longer be able to bet on these sports, especially when they’re on TV or high profile matches, but we understand that there is a general concern around the issue so we have responded.”

A BoyleSports spokesperson confirmed their decision.

“Boylesports will no longer take bets on juvenile sports events in any of its retail stores, online or over the Boylesports app.

“The move follows a lengthy review and takes into account concerns raised by the GAA.”

In a statement released on Wednesday evening, the Gaelic Players Association (GPA) welcomed the decision, highlighting the growing number of county footballers and hurlers developing gambling addictions.

“The GPA will continue to monitor the impact of practices associated with the gambling industry on our athletes, including the use of players and Gaelic games as vehicles to commercially market and promote their products in above and below the line marketing and advertising practices,” the statement read.

“Gambling addiction has been identified as a growing concern for county footballers and hurlers over the past number of years with 2015 showing the highest growth in numbers presenting with gambling addiction.

“As well as the immense reputational damage and personal devastation gambling addiction can have on a player and those close to him, the issue poses a very real threat to the reputation of inter-county football and hurling in general if the integrity of the games is compromised.”

If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article, please contact the following:

  • Gamblers Anonymous Dublin 01-8721133 or Cork 087-2859552

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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