GAA Could Be World’s First Sports Body to Ban Gambling Ads From Live Games

  • GPA representatives will pitch measure at GAA Central Council
  • Goal is to have rule change voted on during 2021 GAA Congress
  • GPA aims to protect vulnerable people from gambling ads exposure, potential addiction
GAA billboard outside stadium
The GPA is calling on the GAA in Ireland to stop allowing gambling companies to broadcast ads during live games. [Image:]

Call to stop airing gambling ads

Ireland’s Gaelic Players Association (GPA) is calling on the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) to stop gambling companies from airing ads during live game broadcasts. The GAA has the power to make such a move as the organizational body for Gaelic Games.

a potential gambling ad ban during hurling and Gaelic football broadcasts

The GPA, which is the Gaelic Games players’ representative body in the country, has been pushing for a Congressional motion over the coming weekend to discuss a potential gambling ad ban during hurling and Gaelic football broadcasts. However, the GAA has advised that the issue will first be brought up for discussion at the Central Council. 

An unprecedented measure

If the GAA went ahead and complied with the request for a gambling ads ban, it would mark the first case of a sporting organization of its kind to take such a step globally.

Seamus Hickey will be representing the GPA and seeking support for this measure at the Central Council. He will propose a measure to ban gambling ads during live broadcasts, with the rule change potentially then being voted on at the 2021 GAA Congress.

The GPA released a statement detailing why it is calling for such a ban. It said: “The proliferation of online betting and the availability of betting advertising around Gaelic Games has helped develop a worrying cultural issue with gambling in the GAA.”

In recent years, a number of high-profile GAA players have publicized their personal struggles with gambling addiction.

Protecting vulnerable people

In its statement, the GPA went on to say that young children and other vulnerable people are being exposed to gambling advertising while watching games, leading to destructive addictions. The body believes the GAA holds enough sway in its partnerships with broadcast partners to implement the ban.

vulnerable people are being exposed to gambling advertising while watching games

The GPA offers 24/7 counseling support to all its members, many of whom have suffered from gambling addiction. The association, therefore, wants all direct links between its members and gambling advertising within the sport to be removed. 

During the 2020 GAA Congress taking place this weekend, the GPA will be focusing on other controversial proposed rule changes that will be voted on.

Similar bans in other regions

While no sporting organization has voluntarily prohibited gambling advertising during game broadcasts to date, there have been legislative moves in a number of countries aimed at achieving this. 

In the United Kingdom, for example, gambling companies cannot show ads during live sports that are being televised before 9pm. A similar measure is in place in Australia for live sports broadcasts airing before 8:30pm.

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