Reports are suggesting that The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) is going to follow the lead of the English Football Association, in cutting ties with gambling companies.
The FAI’s current deal with Ladbrokes culminates this year, however a report in the Times is suggesting that Irish football’s governing body may cut the deal short in the same way the English FA severed ties with the UK operator last June.
The report comes after the stalling of an Irish Gambling Act, meaning that there are currently no regulations on gambling promotions in the country. Debate over the evolution of the laws have been in debate since 2013, yet very little progress has been made with new laws.
Irish President Michael D. Higgins heightened calls for increased regulations on the industry during a phone in with RTÉ Radio 1’s Sunday Sport, in which he affirmed his stance of wanting a blanket ban on gambling promotions.
The Irish President told the station: “There is no one being heavy about it. What you can do is through education obviously, through the school systems. But you can’t do everything through education. For too long in Ireland we often ignore problems that are staring us in the face.”
However, Sharon Byrne, chair of the Irish Bookmakers Association, emphasised to the Irish Examiner the Irish gambling sector is looking to ensure social responsibility measures are met.
She said: “I believe that gambling for the vast majority of people is an enjoyable, leisure activity but for a small percentage it can become a problem and as a responsible industry it is up to us to ensure that we have adequate services available and that people are aware of those services if gambling is becoming an issue.”