The press is constantly bombarding us with the news about sportsmen’s addiction issues. Time and again we come across the headlines like “The famous footballer was spotted drunk in the bar for the third time” or “The athlete was disqualified from taking part in the tournament due to his amphetamine addiction”. The references to sportsmen who lost huge sums on gambling are also very common. GAA players are not exceptions — moreover, the gambling addiction in Ireland is more rampant than you could ever imagine.
So what’s causing it? In fact, the gambling industry is one of the biggest in Ireland, as we mentioned previously in another article. The most popular gambling activity is sports betting (including betting on Gaelic games) followed by lotteries and casino slots. Land-based casinos generate only 1.5% of revenue, the rest of income belongs to online gambling in its prime. All those factors encourage sportsmen (as well as other people) play more and get hooked on online casino games and sports betting.
We Can’t Underestimate the Danger of Gambling Addiction in GAA — Here is Why
We know a lot of GAA players who openly confess their gambling issues. Davy Glennon, a member of the Galway senior team, confirmed that his gambling addiction had a very negative impact on his relationships with family, co-workers, and his employer. In particular, he got over 20 charges of theft and was summoned to court. Even though he received treatment and repaid stolen money, the representative of his employer’s company said that his theft led to the loss of 30 jobs.
New GAA President John Horan says: “It’s worse than an alcohol problem. An alcohol problem, people will fall down. A betting problem can wipe families out. It’s a societal thing in Ireland. It might be something in our genes, to be betting.”
Yes, gambling and alcohol have much more in common than you think. Both are equally addictive and both can ruin human lives. If you don’t want to drink or gamble, the concerned parties might find the incentive to make you do that. For example, casinos advertise their services by attracting people through free bonuses just like alcohol manufacturers propose welcome beverages at various events or run special offers like ”order two pizza and get one beer for free”.
But we totally agree with John Horan. Online gambling and betting are worse: they are more available since you don’t need to visit the shop to make a bet. Even children can form the bad habit by playing casino-like games on social media – there is no regulation on them as you