In Ireland, the Gaelic Athletic Association has reportedly used its annual congress to pass a resolution instituting a total ban on gambling companies sponsoring any of its teams or competitions.
According to a Saturday report from Irish state radio and television broadcaster RTE, the prohibition, which also covers the sponsorship of equipment and facilities, was proposed by Mick Rock from the Connacht branch of the Gaelic Athletic Association before being endorsed by 93% of the organization’s 270 voting delegates.
Headquartered in Dublin, the Gaelic Athletic Association is responsible for organizing and promoting indigenous Gaelic sports such as camogie and hurling alongside Gaelic handball and football while Rock reportedly declared that the ban would ‘enhance the moral standing’ of the organization and ‘protect the integrity of our games’.
RTE reported that Armagh is the only branch of the Gaelic Athletic Association that is likely to be immediately impacted by the ban as it currently has a sponsorship deal in place with the local BoyleSports sportsbetting brand. However, the broadcaster explained that Rock preceded the Saturday vote by stating that sport, in general, had become ‘besieged by gambling’ while Alan Kerins from the Gaelic Players Association purportedly detailed that some 15% of the 77 players that had requested counseling last year had done so due to problem gambling concerns.
“I think this motion shows the Gaelic Athletic Association is standing up and doing something and making sure it is not something which becomes more infiltrated,” former Armagh Gaelic football player Oisin McConville reportedly told the Irish Independent newspaper in the run-up to the vote.
RTE reported that 42-year-old McConville has been open about a past gambling addiction and purportedly moreover told the newspaper that the Gaelic Athletic Association’s move of ‘nipping it in the bud’ would help others to avoid the same problems.