21 March 2022
By Roger Kennedy
Visitors to Ireland are usually focused on visiting tourist sites such as the Cliffs of Moher, Guinness Storehouse, Book of Kells in Trinity College, The Rock of Cashel, Killarney National Park, The Ring of Kerry, and Blarney Castle. There is another attraction that is noticed less and that is betting. Gambling is illegal in some countries so certain visitors to Ireland are attracted to what the Emerald Isle has to offer with
- Greyhound and horse racing
- Neighbourhood bookmakers
- The Irish National Lottery
- Private gaming rooms
- Online wagering clubs
Ireland’s betting industry
In 1922, the Irish Free State was established. In 1926, the Betting Act was passed, and was aimed at closing illegal bookies. Today, every bookie has to have their license prominently displayed, regardless of whether they do business in a traditional street shop, or online.
Horse racing remains the most popular sport to bet on, but in recent years different games like blackjack and roulette have gained popularity, again both in person, and online.
The Gaming and Lotteries Acts 1956–2003 allowed some limited forms of gambling. This was in order to provide a controlled outlet for people who wished to gamble. It also provided a method of fund-raising for charitable purposes.
The Finance Acts of 1971 and 1991 were instrumental in controlling gaming machines following their appearance during the 1970s and 1990s. It will surprise some English visitors that there are no ‘one armed bandits’ in public houses in Ireland.
During the 1980s, the Government formed the National Lottery. It launched its flagship Lotto game in 1988. The National Lottery now offers Lotto and Lotto Plus draws on Wednesdays and Saturdays, EuroMillions and Plus draws on Tuesdays and Fridays, and two Daily Million draws each day. It also runs a range of other games, including televised bingo, Millionaire Raffles, and online instant-win games. It’s also possible to play online. The fact that the state established Lottery began selling tickets online lent some credibility to other online offerings.
Irish online betting
Over the most recent decade, online gambling has become more popular in Ireland. You can play blackjack, poker, roulette, and baccarat online at places like here.
Further, proof that Ireland has a large gambling industry can be seen in the fact that Flutter Entertainment plc (formerly Paddy Power Betfair plc) is headquartered in Dublin. The company was created by the merger of Paddy Power and Betfair, and the later acquisition of The Stars Group. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange, and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. It operates under various brands in different markets.