Croke Park in Dublin unlikely to get high speed WiFi as officials worry about online gambling

  • Fears that better internet would lead to more mobile bets
  • Stadium director doesn’t want gambling in Gaelic sport

The director of Croke Park, the Dublin stadium which hosts the Gaelic Athletic Association’s headquarters, has indicated that better WiFi connectivity is unlikely to be rolled out at the sports venue due to fears it could increased online gambling.

Croke Park officials don't want superfast WiFi at the Dublin stadium, over fears of too much online gambling.
Croke Park officials don’t want superfast WiFi at the Dublin stadium, over fears of too much online gambling.

Peter McKenna told the Irish Daily Star that he doesn’t want to see gambling in Gaelic soccer, and suggested that demand for betting is driving the push to improve the stadium’s WiFi connectivity.

Internet upgrade unlikely to be rolled out for stadium visitors

In 2016, Croke Park became the location for Ireland’s first deployment of a high density WiFi network.

“We now have an unrivalled WiFi experience for delegates and patrons in Croke Park,” said stadium director Peter McKenna at the time.

Eavann Murphy of eir Business, who facilitated the improved wireless network, boasted that “Croke Park Corporate and Premium level patrons will experience the best Match Day WiFi services in Ireland.”

The network deployment has been hailed as a success, bringing high speed WiFi connectivity to the stadium’s corporate venues and meeting areas. However, McKenna has confirmed that the fast and reliable internet service is unlikely to be rolled out across the rest of the stadium – at least, not while he is in charge of the sporting facility.

GAA clear on keeping gambling out of sports

Modern gambling venues, from casinos to racetracks, rely on the fastest and most reliable internet connections. Gamblers often use their mobiles to place instant bets on live events, such as sports games – and may even do so while watching a match live. This also requires a good internet connection.

They may even be tempted to have a few spins at an online casino during half-time.

Many soccer stadiums in the UK have fast, secure WiFi for visitors, and this often leads to in-game betting.

However, McKenna wants to keep the practice out of Gaelic football games. “You can see racecourses and so on want maximum connectivity, because it’s important to the Paddy Power and Ladbrokes and so on,” the stadium chief told Irish reporters.

“But that’s a different, for a very specific outcome, the ability to place bets quickly and continuously. That’s the last thing we want at a match.”

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