Dublin South West TD, Seán Crowe, has welcomed the Gaelic Athletic Association’s decision to agree a motion that calls for a ban of betting companies sponsoring any GAA competition, team, playing gear, or facility. The Sinn Féin TD described the decision as historic and ground-breaking.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“I want to welcome the GAA’s decision to ban all betting companies from sponsoring any GAA competition, team, playing gear, or club facility.

“This historic and ground-breaking decision resulted from a growing consciousness within the GAA, and wider society, around the issue of problem gambling as a serious health issue in Ireland.

“Opponents dismissed or tried to reduce the seriousness of the issue, but the GAA as a grassroots organisation has seen that it is a growing problem and its membership have moved to do their bit to tackle it.

“I commend the GAA on this historic decision and hope other sporting, community, and nationally minded organisations follow their leadership.

“The decision was a difficult, but a courageous one and in stark contrast to the Government’s own passivity on this issue

“Lack of regulation, particularly of online gambling, has meant that the south of Ireland has the highest per capita online gambling losses in the world, and the third highest per capita gambling losses overall.

“Aggressive marketing in recent years, combined with the advent of online gambling on smart phones, has meant that people are more susceptible than ever to developing problem gambling habits.

“The Gambling Control Bill, which seeks to address many issues around gambling and its regulation, has been gathering dust since 2013. Following the GAA’s lead we need to see serious urgency on this issue before the scale of the problem destroys even more of our citizens.

“Everyone has a part to in trying to protect the young and the vulnerable from excessive marketing and problem gambling.

“In the coming weeks Sinn Fein will bring forward a bill which seeks to regulate gambling advertisement on television and are calling on all parties in the Oireachtas to support its passage.”