As Irish Gambling Laws Change, Where Do You Stand?

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Ireland has a history of its people enjoying a flutter, much like many other countries in the world. However, the amount of money being gambled has led many to view the country as perhaps enjoying one or two flutters too many.

In 2019, Business World reported that the population of Ireland had wagered almost €10 billion on various forms of gambling. This amounted to an average of around €380 per person in the whole of the country.

However, when it comes to the biggest gamblers in Europe, the UK leads the way. Ireland and the UK have traditionally enjoyed fairly relaxed gambling laws, and the people of these countries enjoy many sports, including horse racing, and football.

Italy is also one of the biggest gambling nations. This is quite fitting as Venice is the home to the first, and oldest casino in the world. And, it is Ireland’s new laws that are now changing the way casinos and other forms of gambling can happen there.

Are there any casinos in Ireland?

In many countries around the world, casinos can be part of regular forms of entertainment. Over forty percent of Americans visited a casino in the years preceding the pandemic, and there are many famous casino destinations.

Las Vegas, Monte Carlo, and Macau are just three places that are intrinsically linked to gambling and casinos. However, although Ireland has many popular forms of gambling, casinos aren’t one of the legitimate options. 

Ireland doesn’t officially have any casinos. At least, not in the same way that England, America, or Macau does.

Where do people go to bet in Ireland?

If there are no casinos, then where do Irish folk go to place a bet, or have a wager?

Bookmakers, bingo halls, fruit machines in pubs, and the lottery, also exist, just like in many other European countries.

But anyone who wants to play casino games has two choices really. If you are in Ireland and you want to play poker or blackjack, then a live casino online can provide everything you may need. Slots, craps, roulette. 

However, if you are looking for some real-life action, then a traditional casino is what you are craving. In Ireland though, these are technically illegal. So, the alternative is a private members gambling club

That sounds ok, so there is still a kind of casino then?

Yes, there are casinos in Ireland, although technically, there aren’t.

These private members clubs don’t normally need much approval to join, it is usually just a formality. Perhaps some will charge for the privilege to access the establishment, but they operate this way to stay within the law. It is not about exclusivity.

Across the world, from Vegas to Tanzania, there are mega casino resorts that boast multiple floors, thousands of gaming machines, and private poker rooms, but Ireland’s scene is different.

Perhaps the best way to describe Ireland’s casino scene is to say they are more boutique than supercasino resorts. They also have an emphasis on one particular game.

What are the most popular ways to bet in Ireland?

Out of all the ways to bet in Ireland, sports betting is still one of the most popular.

There are over 1,000 bookmakers across the country, and popular sporting events include football, horse racing, Gaelic football, and golf. At least when it comes to sports betting it does.

For many, the lottery is a popular weekly diversion, and daily fantasy sports captivate many too. For some, it is online betting that has the biggest draw, and sites such as LVBET that let you play casino games, as well as bet on sports, are convenient.

When it comes to the gambling clubs though, the game of choice is often poker. Now though, the laws in Ireland are changing.

How are the laws surrounding gambling changing?

In recent years, there have been some changes to gambling laws. The minimum age that someone could gamble was raised from 16 to 18. 

Private gambling clubs have always generally been 18 minimum, perhaps because of alcohol sales taking place, and the general adult nature of the clubs. One actually took this further and made the minimum entry age, 21.

There is a long history of amusement arcades and piers in Ireland and the UK. Fairgrounds and amusement halls often have games that include cash prizes, or rewards worth a certain amount of money.

Crane grabs, push ha’penny, and fruit machines all feature in these venues. Traditionally, it has seemed normal for children to play these games. In fact, the UK only made it illegal for under 18s to play some of these games this year in March.

Ireland changed their laws a couple of years before. 

According to Citizens Information, the Betting Act 1931 makes it illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to be in a bookmakers. In Ireland, anyone under 18 is classed as a child. This means that it is also illegal for a 17-year-old to use game machines at funfairs and amusement arcades.

Other law changes though will affect the future of Ireland’s strange relationship with casinos.

What is happening with private gambling clubs in Ireland?

Because casinos are technically prohibited in Ireland, many view private gaming clubs as circumventing the law.

Changes to the law may mean that any club that doesn’t fully adhere to licensing and following the law could close.

However, it isn’t just gambling clubs being threatened by the new changes. Even online casinos and bookmakers could suffer.

What law is going to change the way that Irish players gamble?

Over a year ago, the pandemic was announced and life changed for many. During those initial lockdown periods, internet usage shot through the roof.

One of the biggest changes in internet searches was that of online casinos. In Ireland, online casinos are still on the rise as people prefer to play from home.

One other thing that changed over in the UK at the start of the pandemic, was that credit cards got banned from being used to gamble with.

Ireland is now joining in on that act. To try to reduce problem gambling, Ireland is banning any gambling establishment from accepting credit cards as payment for any form of wager.

This includes online gaming and casino sites too. If anyone accepts credit cards for deposits or bets, they face being stripped of their gambling license, and being fined.

How will this affect the Irish gambling industry?

For campaigners, the changes are welcome. Less underground casinos, fewer problem gamblers, reduced credit card debt. These are the targets of many of those who are against gambling.

However, as restrictions on certain activities over the years have shown, if people want to enjoy something that is banned, they will find a way.

Prohibition, gambling bans in Nevada, and other curfews or laws end up being circumvented or ignored. However, credit card bans should be welcomed as a way to reduce the crippling debt that some players find themselves in.

Summary

While the new gambling laws may rid the country of some establishments that are less than savoury, legitimate businesses can still flourish.

Irish people, just like many other Europeans, enjoy a flutter now and again and have no problem with it. The future though looks more and more like it is going to be online. As Covid worries some people away from heading to busy casinos, the internet provides a safe and convenient way to play.