The gambling market has exploded in the past few years, especially the online industry. As the Internet develops and as a result of busy schedules and the pandemic, more and more people in Ireland decided to spend their time doing what they like – gamble on the Web.
If you are wondering what your options are and how safe it is to play at online casinos in Ireland, you’ve come to the right place. With top-notch software and many licensed and reputable casino sites, Irish players have tons of options to choose from these days.
Land-based Gambling in Ireland
Ireland introduced regulated gambling in the middle of the 1800s. Starting with the Betting Act of 1854, gambling has started developing in the country to become what it is today. Right now, the regulatory structure is strict and modern, allowing safe and legal gambling at both land-based and online casinos.
Before the Betting Act of 1954, there wasn’t much in terms of regulations for betting forms. Once enacted, this law started prohibiting commercial casinos from operating in the country. Some innovative business owners found a loophole in the law and opened members-only gambling clubs. These are basically mini-casinos with a variety of casino games like slots, poker games, video poker, and blackjack.
Today, there are around 14 such mini-casinos in Ireland, but they all require a membership for you to play at. Most are recognized as clubs, but their gambling activities do not violate the Ireland law, which makes them legal to play at.
A few years back, an effort was made to legalize all sorts of casino gambling in the state and create a more structured law. Alan Shatter authored the Gambling Control Bill of 2013, but it is yet to be passed by Parliament. If this happens, the bill will allow for up to 40 legit, legal land-based casino sites, all featuring up to 15 tables. This Bill should also expand the poker, casino, and bingo industry online and offline.
Even though it’s been crafted, there’s no indication as to when this bill will be enacted.
Online Casino Ireland Gambling
Legislation for Online Gambling Ireland
Online gambling is legal in Ireland. When the Betting Act was first released and marked the start of the regulations of legalized gambling, it was limited to offline betting. However, as casinos started popping online, the same premise remained for them.
Casinos that operate online have to possess licenses the same as land-based casinos. There are no laws preventing gamblers from this state from playing at offshore sites that allow for Irish players.
The most important change to the original Betting Act came in the form of an amendment in 2015. This amendment regulated online bookmakers and betting intermediaries. It indicates that all bookmakers who accept online bets from people based in Ireland are subject to the licensing regime under the Act.
Gambling Operators and Licenses
Generally speaking, gambling in this state is regulated by the Betting Acts from 1931 to 2015, Totalisator Act of 1929, National Lottery Act of 2013, Finance Acts of 1975 and 1992, and the Gaming and Lotteries Acts of 1956 and 2019.
The law indicates that, for an online casino to be considered legal in the state, they must have one of three main licenses given by the Irish government. Available for a fee, the license has to be renewed every 2 years. If services operate without licenses, there are severe penalties including fines and imprisonment.
Under the Betting Act, those who wish to operate a retail shop acting as a casino must obtain a bookmaker’s license by applying for a certificate of personal fitness from a member of An Garda Siochana, not below the Superintendent rank. Next, they have to obtain a certificate of suitability of premises in terms of where the bookmaker will trade.
Most online casinos are licensed overseas by bodies such as Alderney and Malta to be able to provide gaming services to Irish players.
Taxes and Limitations
Any operator who is licensed overseas and accepts players from Ireland should be aware that the revenue is subject to VAT under directive 2006/112/EC. eGaming services are currently taxable in this state at a rate of 23%. Payments can be made centrally at mini one-stop-shop- arrangements.
This year, the Department of Justice has reported that they intend to publish a scheme of a bill soon that will establish a gambling regulator. Currently, there are several governmental bodies that supervise and regulate gambling in Ireland. These are:
- ONRL or Office of the Regulator of National Lottery
- DOJE or Department of Justice and Equality
- Revenue Commissioners i.e. the Irish tax authority (responsible for awarding licenses)
- An Garda Siochana and district courts (responsible for gaming permits and certificates of personal fitness)
- ASAI or Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland
Prospects in the Irish Casino Industry
Legalized Types of Gambling in Ireland Right Now
Ireland’s laws might not be ideal in terms of gambling right now, but they are improving all the time. Right now, this is the situation in the state:
- Live poker is legally available through the land-based gaming clubs, but commercial casinos and poker rooms are prohibited still. Since the options are limited, people mostly do poker gambling online. The Irish Open Poker Tournament is the largest in Europe.
- Pari-mutuel wagering and bookmaking are the focus of gambling laws today, and most popular with Irish citizens. The act of 2015 established a means for offshore online sportsbook and betting exchanges to be placed into the policies. It made it illegal for offshore online businesses to offer services to Irish players without a betting intermediary or remote bookmaker license.
- The Gaming and Lotteries Act prohibits bingo games for real money and commercial bingo halls outside of licensed charitable gambling events. Your alternative here is a number of legally sanctioned online bingo opportunities.
The Cabinet recently approved new legislation that will change things in the current gambling law. Also, the Courts and Civil Liabilities Bill is modernizing the Act of 1956.
Top-Rated Games at Online Casinos in Ireland
Blackjack is a simple game to master and yet, it’s one of the best games worldwide. Millions of people attempt to reach 21 every single day. This game and its variants are very popular in Ireland.
Poker is only available in land-based gaming clubs, but players can also enjoy it online. With many options available on online websites, most prefer doing their poker betting on the Internet.
Baccarat is not as popular as blackjack, but its many variants today attract Irish gamblers more than ever. It’s widely available online, as well as in the clubs in Ireland.
Roulette is the most simple, yet highly thrilling game played at online casinos. People can play at real tables at land-based clubs or online, even with a live dealer.
Slots have always been the most popular casino game category among Irish players. There are thousands of slots available now with the option to play online, and many machines are found in the clubs also.
The Pros and Cons of Gambling at an Online Casino
Now that we’ve established that betting in this country is legal and regulated, it’s time to see whether or not you should consider doing it in the first place.
- Gambling in Ireland is legalized and strictly regulated. Even if you bet at online casinos, they must have a license to offer their services to Irish players.
- You have plenty of options in terms of games and bonuses today, even if you aren’t a member of the renowned land-based clubs in the state. There are plenty of amazing online casinos that offer all kinds of play to gamblers.
- Wide selection of games. Games are better and more numerous than ever, leaving you plenty of choices and endless source of entertainment.
- Chance to win actual money. When you do real gambling with real cash, you’re playing to potentially win real money. At reputable casinos, it should be no hassle at all to withdraw your winnings into your bank account or e-wallet.
- Plenty of deposit and withdrawal methods. Top-rated online casinos will give you a wide choice in terms of depositing and withdrawal methods including cards, e-wallets, prepaid cards, etc.
- No real casinos in Ireland. The only licensed and legalized land-based sites that can offer gambling activities are clubs and they are members-only establishments. If you prefer offline play, you might not be able to do it unless you are a member.
- Some risks are associated. Wherever and whenever you gamble, you should be cautious about choosing a site to play at. Gamble only at licensed websites to avoid scam, and make sure that the site you play at is licensed and allowed to offer its services to Irish players. And of course, be mindful of your budget.
Is it possible to win real money when you gamble at online casinos in Ireland?
Yes. This is legal and regulated by the Betting Act of 2015. As long as you play at a casino that’s holds a license by Irish regulatory bodies and are allowed to offer you its services, you can win and withdraw real money without any issue.
Is it safe to gamble on the Internet in Ireland?
Yes. As always, you should be careful about where you deposit your money. Make sure that the site you choose is licensed and regulated. If it is, it is safe and legal to play there.
What kinds of bonuses can you get at Irish online gambling sites?
There are all sorts of bonuses you can get when you gamble online in Ireland including welcome promotions and packages, no deposit bonuses, deposit bonuses, match bonuses, cashbacks, etc.
What are the best-rated casino games in Ireland?
The most often picked game category are slots in Ireland, followed by Blackjack and its variants, Poker and video poker, and Roulette titles as well as Baccarat.