FAI Set to Cut Ties with Gambling Operators

Ladbrokes, London

The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) may follow the lead of the English Football Association and sever its links with gambling operators, including Ladbrokes.

The Irish football governing body’s current contract with Ladbrokes is due to end this year. However, it may be the last deal FAI makes with a betting company. Reports indicate that the association may cut the deal shortly after the English FA decided to cut its multimillion-pound contract with the British bookmaker last year in June.

Gambling promotions have not been regulated in Ireland since the stalling of a Gambling Act. There have been debates over renewing the legislation since 2013, but the progress made has been insignificant.

Michael D. Higgins, President of the Republic of Ireland, expressed his intention over tightening regulations on the gambling industry during a phone in with RTÉ Radio 1’s Sunday Sport. He revealed his stance on implementing a blanket ban on gambling advertising.

“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.” said Higgins.

Nevertheless, Sharon Byrne, chair of the Irish Bookmakers Association, stressed that Irish gambling operators were ready to bear social responsibility relating to problem gambling.

“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,” said Byrne.