A Gambling Guide to Ireland

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The Emerald Isle; known for stunning coastlines, cheerful locals and being home to some of the best drinks the world. When we think of Ireland, most of us will imagine sitting down with a pint of Guinness in a quaint little pub, or fighting off the winter chill with a glass of whiskey by a large open fire. But what may not spring to mind is this wee nation’s thriving gambling scene. 

The Irish love a little flutter and popular sports like horse racing, Gaelic football and even golf see pubs and bookies packed out with local punters all gripping their betting slips. But while you can pretty much bet on anything these days, one thing you can’t do in Ireland is visit a casino. Strange, right? In a country where you literally bet on poultry races, it seems odd that you can’t sit down at a regular blackjack table. 

So why do the Irish have a ban on casinos, and how have some clever souls got around this law? Let’s take a look at Ireland’s strange aversion to casino gambling. 

History 101 

The first gambling laws in Ireland came about around the same time they were fighting for independence from the British. Notably, The Betting Act of 1926, which was brought in to regulate bookmakers and bookmaking premises. 

This was followed by the Totalisator Act of 1929, which regulates the way odds are calculated and paid out. Add in some amendments on the way, and you’ve more or less got a regulated industry like any other. Nothing odd here. That is until the Gaming and Lotteries Act came in and crashed the party in 1956. This act made casinos completely illegal, and it still stands today. 

However, some rather clever people found a juicy little loophole in the law…

The Rise of Private Members Clubs

Although physical casinos are illegal, private members clubs where they provide slot machines and tables for their members are not. This cheeky nugget of information gave way to a sharp increase in the amounts of private clubs where members could go and gamble. 

Being a members club, it makes sense for one to have to become a member. No surprise there. But gone are the days of having to be invited by one of the club’s elders, or having to master a secret handshake; these clubs are incredibly easy to join and the majority are absolutely free.

The joining process is simply there to fulfil the law, and once you’re a member you can happily pop down to the club for some fun on the slots, or a couple of hands of baccarat. . 

You can find a comprehensive list of all of Ireland’s private gambling clubs here, but unfortunately for a lot of us, most of them are concentrated around Dublin and Cork. If you’re not planning on visiting either place any time soon, it might be time to consider another form of gambling still legal in Ireland. 

Online Casinos 

But casinos are banned, right? Well, not entirely. While land-based are out and out prohibited, you can enjoy all the fun of the fair with online sites. Gambling online has seen a surge in popularity in recent years, and with sites like www.ukcasino.xyz bringing you up-to-date comparisons, you can find the best online casinos; with plenty offering cash bonuses and free spins every day. 

To summarise, although Ireland has some strict rules on gambling, they haven’t put a stop to all the fun and there are still tons of options available if you enjoy a little flutter. You can still have that glass of whiskey in front of an open fire, but if you want to enjoy a bet or two at the same time, make sure you open your laptop too.