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GAA promises support for players fighting gambling addiction

Gambling issue remains a top priority for the GAA and the GPA.
Jan 21st 2014, 8:31 PM 2,778 4

THE GAA SAYS it will redouble its efforts in the fight against problem gambling.

The issue has become a top priority and accounts for almost one-third of all calls received since the establishment of the Gaelic Players Association’s 24-hour helpline in 2010.

It hit home again late last year when Offaly footballer Niall McNamee went public about the addiction which cost him €200,000.

The need to provide support for those in difficulty was raised again today in GAA Director-General Paraic Duffy’s annual report.

Duffy wrote: “Problem gambling is a growing concern in contemporary Ireland, one which, inevitably, affects a significant number of GAA players.

“Indeed, a number of a well-known GAA players have had the courage to speak about their personal struggles in dealing with their gambling problem.

“This is an issue on which the GAA and GPA have worked closely and effectively over the past year, cooperating in the preparation and distribution of a set of basic guidelines to players and clubs. This joint campaign will seek to assist GAA members in identifying problem gambling and in encouraging those in difficulty to seek assistance.”

Duffy also stressed the need to be vigilant on another potential scourge — match-fixing.

He added: “It is important that support be given to players who are trying to cope with a gambling addiction.

“Equally, there is a need for the Association to develop clear guidelines, even rules, to govern betting by players on GAA games. One obvious rule would be that players would not be permitted to bet on a game in which they are participating.

“Betting on the internet will become increasingly accessible, and increasingly tempting, over the next few years. We need to take account of that reality and to redouble our efforts to safeguard the integrity of our games and to provide adequate support for players for whom gambling has become a major personal problem.”

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