Irish gambling statistics in 2020

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Gambling is a popular activity in Ireland. According to Irish Examiner, Irish players gambled an estimated €9.8 billion in 2019. Sports betting, lotteries and casino games are the most common forms of gambling in the country, and more and more players are gambling online. In this article, we will look at some of the key statistics on gambling in Ireland.

Key statistics on gambling in Ireland

In February 2019, the Department of Health published a survey on gambling habits in Ireland. The report shows that two-thirds of the population have gambled in the last 12 months, and lottery tickets and scratch cards are the most common form of gambling. 

The Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration, David Stanton, said this about the survey results: “The statistics show that many people in Ireland engage in various forms of gambling without any issue arising. For the small percentage of people for whom gambling is a problem, we need measures to reduce problem gambling and its impact on individuals and their families. For this, the collection of data is very important.”.

The current Irish lottery laws were introduced with the Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1956, and Minister Stanton said that “the modernisation of our gambling legislation and the better regulation of the gambling industry is a priority for the government.”. In December 2019, the Gaming and Lotteries Act 2019 was signed into law. The 2019 act introduced a number of changes that are primarily aimed at land based gaming and lottery operators.

Below are some of the key findings from the Department of Health report:

  • Those aged 55-64 are most likely to have gambled in the last year (72.4%), followed by 35-44 year olds (70.5%) and 45-54 year olds (69.4%).
  • Lottery and scratch cards are the most common form of gambling, with 56.7% reporting this form of gambling in the last year, and 35.4% reporting this form of gambling on a monthly basis.
  • Gambling online or on phones is most common in the 25-34 year old group (5.7%), followed by 18-24 year olds (4.8%).
  • Problem gambling is most common in young males (2.9% in males aged 25-34 and 1.9% in males aged 18-24).

Most forms of gambling were included in the survey, such as buying a lottery ticket or a scratch card, gambling in a bookmaker’s shop, betting on horses and other sports, playing bingo, and playing online casino games at online casinos. Lotteries and scratch cards are by far the most popular form of gambling in Ireland, especially among older age groups. Problem gambling affects 0.8% of the general population and is most common in males aged 25-34. Minister Stanton commented that they will address the issues of introducing a modern licensing approach to all gambling activities and enhancing protection of vulnerable persons.