Shane Cassells, a Finna Fail Senator, has said that players from the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) should not partner with gambling brands to become ambassadors for them.

Cassels argued that more needs to be done in Ireland to combat online content seen as “harmful”, with online gambling advertising included in this.

The GAA has itself expressed that it wants gambling in the country to be subjected to stricter controls by law, similarly choosing to call out gambling ads.

Cassells not a fan of gambling partnerships

When talking about gambling brand ambassadors, Cassells pointed in particular to Diarmuid Connolly. The Irishman, who recently retired from inter-county Gaelic football, signed an ambassador deal with Boylesports in January of this year.

According to Cassells, Ireland has a “wild west when it comes to online gambling”. He argued that players have a duty to set an example away from the pitch, and not just while turning out in their teams’ jerseys.

The Senator also said that although he believed Connolly was a “fine ambassador” for sports in the country, the now-retired star should “absolutely” not work with betting operators. He also argued that online gambling operators targeting youngsters “hooks people effectively like a drug addict”.

Cassells didn’t single out gambling advertising alone, though. He also talked about the need to address issues related to adult content, along with online abuse.

GAA also wants less of a gambling influence in sports

In February, the GAA said that they want legislation in the country to outlaw gambling advertising. The same views were shared by the Gaelic Players’ Association (GPA). Despite sponsorships between betting companies and sports clubs in Ireland being legal, the association has voluntarily banned them within its sport.

At the time, GPA Player General Welfare Manager Jennifer Rogers said to the Irish media:

“That’s something we still will be advocating strongly, in terms of banning advertising during the broadcast of live games.

“It will be prioritised as soon as COVID-19 settles down again. We’re using every opportunity we can to impact change, but our predominant concern is looking after players and making sure the supports are there for them when they need them.”