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Dublin 1968

History of GA

The fellowship of Gamblers Anonymous is the outgrowth of a chance meeting between two men in January 1957. These men had a truly baffling history of trouble and misery due to an obsession to gamble. They began to meet regularly and as the months passed neither had returned to gambling.


They concluded from their discussions that in order to prevent a relapse, it was necessary to bring about certain personality changes within themselves. In order to accomplish this they used for a guide certain spiritual principles which had been utilised by thousands of people who had also recovered from compulsive addiction. Also in order to maintain their own abstinence they felt that it was vitally important that they carry the message of hope to other compulsive gamblers. As a result of favourable publicity by a prominent newspaper columnist and TV commentator, the first group meeting of Gamblers Anonymous was held on 13 September 1957 in Los Angeles. Since that time the movement has grown steadily and groups are flourishing in many other areas.


One of the first areas outside of the US to set up a Gamblers Anonymous was Belfast. With the aid of the Samaritans and some local clergy and businessmen, Leslie D started the first GA meeting there in October 1962.

In September 1968, Dr Jack R - a founder member of Gamblers Anonymous in Britain - came to Dublin and introduced GA to Ireland through an interview on The Late Late Show.

Eight days later a public meeting was held in the Great Northern Hotel and some weeks after, the first closed GA meeting was held in 42 Eccles Street, Dublin.

For three years, there was only one meeting in Ireland and members travelled from all over the country to attend. Some of those early members included Docker Joe, Football Dick, Harry the Green Jumper, John G, Limerick Joe, Cork Bernard, Lesly D, Donegal Donal, and Dublin Rita from Gam-Anon.

New meetings opened in Limerick in 1971, followed by Cork in 1974, and gradually GA grew with meetings all over the country.

Today there are over 100 GA meetings in Ireland.

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