online betting ireland

Gambling has a long history in Ireland, especially sports betting. And the most beloved sport embedded in Irish culture is undoubtedly horse racing. There are more horses per capita in Ireland nearly every other European nation, making them the fourth-largest global breeder of racehorses. Furthermore, many of the world’s jockeys and horse trainers come from Ireland.

Horse racing is the most popular sport in the Irish nation because of the frenzy of betting on races, so much so that studies show nearly eight per cent of all Irish citizens place a bet every week.

English Roots

Wagering began taking hold in Ireland during the 17th and 18th centuries, although there is anecdotal evidence of a small amount of gambling in the Middle Ages. The driving force for the rise in popularity of horse race betting lies in the acceptance of horse racing as a bonafide sport, complete with “industry” conferences and governmental regulations in place.

But the primary driver was the restoration of English authority in Ireland. Although the country was officially a British colony, it still functioned with a certain amount of autonomy. The nation was governed by powerful warlords who confiscated land from Irish Catholics. However, the warlords were less interested in regulating the population’s behaviour than in increasing their wealth. Consequently, gambling was mainly ignored and went unregulated.

Irish Independence

In 1922 the Irish Free State sprang into existence after a three-year civil war for independence with the Irish Republican Army (IRA) fighting against the British military. With its independence won, the new government set its sights on reigning in the burgeoning gambling industry.

The first modern legislation made into law was the 1926 Betting Act. The Act was later revised in 1931 by explicitly stating that any operation accepting bets on sporting events must obtain a license issued by the government.

The 1956 Gaming and Lotteries Act

This Act came into existence in Ireland to regulate the casino and lottery industries, much like the Betting Act of 1931 regulated sports betting 30 years earlier. Under its provisions, casinos were prohibited from operating on Irish soil, and lotteries were only allowed for raising money for charities and good causes managed by nonprofits.

Nevertheless, the legislators left a gaping loophole in the Act that permitted private “member-only” clubs that regulated themselves, hosted games of chance of all kinds, and provided slot machines.

The 2013 Gambling Control Bill

By 2013 the Irish government recognized the folly of prohibiting gambling yet allowing the existence of member-only clubs that, guess what? Provide betting and gambling opportunities to its members. 

The Gambling Control Bill radically changed the gambling landscape in Ireland by regulating and controlling gambling instead of “pseudo-prohibiting” the industry. It also incorporated consumer protection provisions to ensure that games were fair and player security and privacy was protected. 

Casino operators hailed the Act’s passing with open arms because it established the legality of their operations. The industry was limited to a mere 40 establishments that could be issued a license, and each casino was restricted to no more than 15 gambling tables.

The Act also created a public service fund from levies collected from casinos to finance recovery programs for players who succumb to gambling addiction or become problem gamblers.

The 2015 Betting Amendment Act

The most recent legislative initiative to regulate Irish gambling is the 2105 Betting Amendment Act, which stipulates that online gambling operators that accept bets from Irish residents must have a license from the Irish government, regardless of where the operator is physically located. 

By passing this Act, Ireland addresses the complexities of modern gambling by having licensing requirements in place that are responsive to current gambling behaviours and technology. 

By Jim O Brien/CEO

CEO and expert in transport and Mobile tech. A fan 20 years, mobile consultant, Nokia Mobile expert, Former Nokia/Microsoft VIP,Multiple forum tech supporter with worldwide top ranking,Working in the background on mobile technology, Weekly radio show, Featured on the RTE consumer show, Cavan TV and on TRT WORLD. Award winning Technology reviewer and blogger. Security and logisitcs Professional.

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