'Top GAA players battling gambling addictions,' says Oisin McConville

'Top GAA players battling gambling addictions,' says Oisin McConville

SEVERAL well-known GAA inter-county players are ‘in serious bother’ with gambling problems and have turned to Oisin McConville for advice, according to the former Armagh footballer.

McConville has previously opened up about his issues with gambling and yesterday launched the GAA and Gaelic Players Association's guidelines on the subject in Croke Park.

He said that he believes the number of players with gambling problems will continue to grow.

“I think we’re going to have more problem gamblers because we’re exposing people to it," he said.

“There’s lots of high profile players who are in bother. Some of them would be in serious bother. The accessibility and all that sort of thing is not really the issue. The big issue is that when people begin gambling I don’t think they’re fully armed with all the facts or pitfalls. With the GPA or counselling services, there is help out there and you can avail of it.”

“It’s very easy to say, ‘stop’ but you need to have the general mechanisms there. They’re not going to say stop because I say it, they have to want it."

"I was a 24/7 gambler, it was the first thing I thought about in the morning and the last thing I thought about at night. A lot of things have to change within your life but you have to go and get that initial help.”

He also believes that the problem of gambling is ever increasing as a result of improved technology.

“Gambling is far more accessible than it’s ever been. Whether on an iPhone, the internet, or whatever it is.

“So it’s more attractive to more people, and I think more people have more time on their hands in order to gamble too."