Gambling in Ireland 

Gambling has long been viewed as something of a past time in Ireland. Etched into folklore, sport and culture, the legality of such activities is not something that is frequently pondered. But what are the modern-day laws surrounding gambling, and how drastically different were they 100 years ago? Well, for those wondering, here’s your definitive guide. 

Modern Day

In the modern era, you have a multitude of gambling options at your disposal. These include Horse Racing/Greyhound Racing, the Irish national lottery, private gambling clubs and online casinos – all of which operate completely legally. While it may now be a widely accepted vice, it hasn’t always necessarily been that way. The Irish, much like the English, have been knowing for enjoying a flutter or two. And yet, authorities on both sides of the Irish sea haven’t always been the most encouraging of this pastime. 

In The Past

Dice and beads made of glass have been located at many Irish sites of historical significance over the years, though it is likely that gambling as we know it truly emerged upon the arrival of the English in the 17th century. This occupation introduced Horse Racing to Ireland, as well as games like Blackjack and roulette. Without much governmental oversight, gambling soon began to consume the population.

The first major gambling law of note to be passed came shortly after Irish independence. In 1926, the Betting Act came into effect, with the Totalisator Act quickly following in 1929. However, it wasn’t until after World War 2 that some of the biggest, and most important rules about gambling in Ireland came to be. In 1956, the Gaming and Lotteries Act was formally written into law, which, amongst other things, prohibited the opening of casinos in Ireland. Despite numerous attempts to overturn it’s a law that is still very much in place to this very day. 

Financial Act 1970

Along similar lines, the Financial Act was first passed in 1970, which helped to regulate the usage of slot machines in the nation. However, some of the stigma surrounding gambling in Ireland was rolled back in the 1980s, where the need for funding for social services precipitated the creation of a National Lottery.

In 2020, much of the legal framework that existed historically remains in place. As was previously mentioned, casinos are still illegal in Ireland, unlike the UK – where such facilities are now widespread across the country. Despite this, there are still some legitimate “Land-based” gambling outlets that citizens can enjoy. For instance, private clubs are allowed to provide betting machines and tables to associated members – with 12 supposed ‘Private Gambling Clubs’ now in operation in Ireland.

For all intent and purposes, they are essentially scaled-down casinos, fitted with poker rooms, slot machines and blackjack tables. Like so much of the gambling underworld, these establishments remain something of a legal grey area. That isn’t the case with online casinos, however – as we will come to soon. Check out NetEnt casino Ireland for Irish casino options.

Sports Betting

Arguably, the most common method of gambling that most people come into contact with is sports betting, which, as you might expect, is a huge market in Ireland. Horse Racing remains wildly popular with punters and is one of the biggest sources of revenue for the Irish gambling industry.

In 2015, an Amendment was made to the Betting Act, which legalised online sportsbooks – even those based outside of Ireland and the UK. Armed only with a credible gambling licence, and a reverence for Irish law, offshore sportsbooks are now able to operate freely – providing Irish customers with an array of markets. 

In addition to the provision of online sports betting, online casinos have also been fully legalised within the last 10 years. This means that games like blackjack, poker, roulette and baccarat can be accessed online, even if they aren’t easily located. Due to the flexibility of Irish law surrounding where a casino site is operated from, there are several fantastic options when it comes to online gambling in Ireland. 

Additional Sources

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