Ireland is renowned for its fun-loving and good-humoured culture, often gathering in rustic bars for singalongs. But beneath the echoing laughter and cheeriness is a complicated gambling industry which will surprise many. Currently, casino venues are officially banned in Ireland – but that could be changing, and Ireland may have their first legal casinos very soon.
What Are the Current Irish Gambling Options?
Irish locals and tourists can pick from a selection of venues and services that provide fun gambling services. Sports betting is one of the most common with local Premier League football fans, Irish football, horse racing and greyhound venues all popular. National lotteries are very popular too, and the Irish National lottery even generates attention in England.
The glaring void in the Irish gambling scene is the lack of formal casinos. Instead, the country has informal casinos known as private gaming clubs. These are not the same as regular casinos you find in Las Vegas because those are currently banned. Instead, players who want to enjoy these casino games often use online casinos. These online platforms boast a larger selection of games and even have Irish fan-favourites like Luck of the Irish and Rainbow Riches slot.
When Were Casinos Made Illegal?
Casinos were made illegal in Ireland when the gambling laws were introduced in 1956. However, a loophole in those laws has enabled some venues to operate somewhat like casinos, although officially non exist on the emerald isle.
What Is a Private Gaming Club?
Some private clubs have permission to provide betting games and table games. Most of these are slot games and poker tables or blackjack tables, but to play, you must be a club member. The loophole is that these clubs can offer membership for free. Twelve of these gaming clubs are in operation in Ireland from Dublin and Cork to Limerick and larger towns in between. These clubs also have an age restriction; all players must be above 18.
The private gaming club makes for a great night out in Cork!
In many ways, these clubs are just like casinos in everything but their name for legal purposes. But there is no doubt that the legalisation of casinos in Ireland would create more gambling opportunities, more jobs and even better venues to enjoy.
Do Casinos Have a Future in Ireland?
The Irish government has been attempting to modernise the gambling industry in Ireland for almost a decade. In the last seven years, plenty of bills have been tabled, and a new act was passed in 2019. This act will present significant changes to the industry, including:
- Make all gambling activities available for people over 18 across the board.
- Protect children from Irish gambling
- Create a regulation authority similar to the UK’s Gambling Commission
- Enhance licensing systems for online gambling
- Legalise land casinos
The new decade is when Ireland will finally be able to build real casinos and locals will be the primary beneficiaries!