An Overview of Gambling and Casinos in Ireland

The Irish have always been associated with luck: the saying the ‘luck of the Irish’ in fact comes from the fact that during the Gold Rush a large number of miners who struck it rich were Irish or of Irish descent.

Gambling, naturally, has been around the Irish for long: there has always been gambling at the races, aka horse racing.

The explosion that the online gambling industry experienced worldwide made this form of betting a natural fit for Ireland.

However, the industry did not suddenly emerge in Ireland. It made its presence felt in the country over a period of time.

Casinos in Ireland

Today, you find online casinos in Ireland thanks to the mature approach of the government. This means that much like the UK, Irish people are able to gamble online.

The realisation that regulation was a better option than a ban ensured Irish online casino fans have access to the best online casinos around and a massive roster of games to choose from.

Regulation meant two things primarily – revenue and the prevention of illegal online gambling sites proliferating.

The online gambling industry became legalised in Ireland with the passing of the Betting (Amendment) Act in 2015. Before the passage of this piece of legislation, all forms of gambling were governed by the terms of two laws:

  • The Betting Act of 1931
  • The Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1956

Other Laws that Govern Different Aspects of Gambling in Ireland

The two laws mentioned above were from different times and did not have any provision to regulate online gambling.

The result was ambiguity when it came to this form of gambling. That did not affect the players much, because players were still able to access online casinos run by overseas operators, but there was apprehension among possible operators.

Prior to the Gambling (Amendment) Act of 2015, another law was passed that saw the online gambling industry make its first appearance in Ireland – The Horses and Greyhound Act of 2001.

This law allowed Irish players to place bets on these events with online casinos run by overseas operators.

Another Act that was passed a few years was the National Lottery Act of 1986, which led to the establishment of the Irish National Lottery, which happens to be one of the most attractive lotteries in the country. This law has been around since then and undergone updates.

Irish Online Gambling Sites

One thing we must understand – Ireland has not traditionally had an online casino industry. The two major gambling categories that did exist were lotteries and betting, as mentioned earlier.

The first Irish online wagering websites and casinos made their presence felt in 2004. Since then, things have undergone a sea change.

One of the biggest online betting operators based out of Dublin, Paddy Power, is now one of the global leaders when it comes to online casino gaming. This is because of the new avatar it is available as – Paddy Power Betfair – that emerged as a result of Paddy Power with the Betfair Group.

There are other top online casinos available for Irish players to play at. These are all internationally reputed casinos that accept players from Ireland and give them access to high-quality gaming from the best providers in the industry. Many of them are multi-platform casinos, which means players get access to the best games from multiple industry-leading software providers under one roof.

Who Grants Licenses for Online Casino Gambling in Ireland?

As of now, there is no specific regulatory body for online casino gambling in Ireland. Gambling on the whole in Ireland is currently regulated by different regulatory bodies. We list these bodies below.

  • The Office of the Regulator of the National Lottery (ORNL): This body was established in 2013 through the National Lottery Act 2013. This body has 3 major functions:
    • Monitoring and regulating the operation of the National Lottery.
    • Approving new National Lottery games.
    • Managing and controlling the National Lottery Fund.
  • Department of Justice and Equality: This authority issues certificates for personal fitness, which is required for betting, remote betting and intermediary licenses for remote betting.
  • Revenue Commissioners: They award remote betting and betting licenses.
  • Irish police or An Garda Síochána: They, along with the District Courts, have the authority to grant licenses to smaller charitable lotteries.

Other Licensing Authorities for Online Casinos Accepting Irish Players

As mentioned earlier, Irish players get access to a large number of internationally reputed online casinos. These casinos are powered by software from a number of leading online casino software providers, including outfits like NetEnt, Microgaming, Evolution Gaming, BetSoft Gaming and others.

All these casinos are very popular not just because of the software and the games they offer but also the secure environment they provide players with. The guarantee of security comes from the use of industry-standard encryption technology like 128-bit SSL encryption and also licensing by reputed licensing authorities.

The licensing authorities that license and regulate these casinos include, among others, organizations like the following:

Currently, Ireland does not have a regulatory body for online casino gambling. That is set to change by 2020, with the government setting out the plans to form a new gambling regulatory authority. This regulatory authority would oversee the online and land-based casino market in the country.

The Future of Online Casinos in Ireland

The online casino gambling industry offers an exciting experience to players from Ireland.

And the popularity of the industry suggests that it will only get more popular. The rapid technological advancements guarantee growth and evolution of this nature.

There are amazing multi-platform casinos where you get to play more than a thousand games from the best providers.

The latest trend is mobile casino gambling, and there are some fantastic mobile casinos that are available to Irish players. Live casino gaming is another trend that Irish players already have access to.

The future, it is safe to say, is bright and shiny. Emerging technologies like virtual reality (VR) gaming are being seen as the torchbearers that will take online and mobile casino gambling to the next level. And Irish players will be able to enjoy all of this along with the rest of the world.

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