Paddy Power to halt U-18s sports betting in Ireland
Paddy Power has announced that it will no longer accept bets on under-18s sports fixtures and competitions in Ireland.
Customers of the bookmaker will not be able to place wagers on contests, while the Irish Times newspaper reports that rival operator Boylesports is also set to cease offering such markets.
In a statement confirming the move, Paddy Power said the decision has been made independently in response to concerns from various sectors.
“Despite offering these markets for years it’s never come up as a contentious issue before,” Paddy Power said.
“Some people wanted to bet on U-18s sports so we responded to that demand,” it said in a statement.
“Those customers may be disappointed that they will no longer be able to bet on these sports, especially when they’re on TV or high-profile matches, but we understand that there is a general concern around the issue so we have responded.”
The Gaelic Players’ Association (GPA), the body that represents professionals in Ireland’s Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) contests, has welcomed the decision, with the move coming after a period of concern over gambling addition with GAA players.
The GPA said: “Gambling addiction has been identified as a growing concern for county footballers and hurlers over the past number of years, with 2015 showing the highest growth in numbers presenting with gambling addiction.
“As well as the immense reputational damage and personal devastation gambling addiction can have on a player and those close to him, the issue poses a very real threat to the reputation of inter-county football and hurling in general if the integrity of the games is compromised.”
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