Ireland Online Casino Guide

Gambling Industry Overview in Ireland

The following approaches will be presented

  • Gambling legislation in Ireland
  • Gambling authorities in Ireland
  • Online casinos in Ireland
  • and more

Gambling is known as a favorite pastime of Irish citizens for a long time now. It has been integrated deeply in the culture of the country. Currently, all forms of gambling and betting operations are legal in Ireland.

Flag of IrelandAlthough Ireland is primarily known for the horse and greyhound racing activities organized there, other forms of gambling are also popular. For example, bookmakers and adjusting premises, as well as wagering, have been subjected to regulation in the country since the 18th century by different statutes and at common law.

Billions of Euros are spent on both land-based and online gambling activities by the local citizens on a yearly basis. This, in addition to the fact that Irish players can enjoy all forms of gambling, including private casino offerings, bingo and sports betting.

Overview

Gambling in Ireland was not legally controlled for many years until 1956, when the Gaming and Lotteries Act was established. The Act was used by the country’s Government to make casino gambling illegal. However, there were some loopholes in the law, which helped the so-called “private member’ gaming clubs” to be established, which filled the gap after casinos were proclaimed out of law.

The Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1956 lies in the very core of contemporary gaming and gambling legislation of Ireland. The fact that the Irish gambling laws are considered a bit out of pace compared to the ones of other countries.

Traditionally, Ireland does not have a casino industry, no matter that the situation in the country has changed since the early 2000’s. In addition, there are basically two major categories when it comes to gambling operations in the country – betting and lotteries and gaming. The legislature for both types of activities has been reviewed and great reforms have been planned for the period 2012/2013.

Lotteries and Gaming

Gambling Legislation in IrelandThis category is mainly subjected to the Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1956. The Act, in general, makes gaming illegal, unless it is included in certain exemptions.

The latter are also divided in two types. The first one is associated with gaming that takes place at carnivals, circuses or travelling shows. There is also a second type of exemption, which is related to the way in which gambling activities and games are operated.

The Act of 1956 cannot be directly related to online gambling, but some provisions are considered technically applicable to such types of operations. Still, some serious legislative changes are needed in order to transform the Act and make it more flexible in order to cover online gaming, too.

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According to the Act of 1956, lotteries are currently legal in Ireland, though there are some restrictions. The Irish National Lottery, which is considered as the latest and most attractive lottery in the country, was established under the National Lottery Act of 1986.

In addition, the national lottery games are subjected to the rules approved and imposed by the Minister of Finance.

Betting

Betting is subjected to the Betting Act of 1931, which was created as a regulation of the widely-popular bookmaking industry in the country. The implementation of the Act came as a repeal of its predecessor – the Betting Act of 1926. The newer Act liberalized some aspects of the regime, making certain prohibitions more relaxed.

Up to date, there is non-profit trade organization called the Gaming and Leisure Association of Ireland (GLAI), which is primarily focused on the casino sector and more specifically, its regulatory process. The association was established back in 2005. It supports the issues related to implementation of a suitable regulatory framework.

Online Gambling

Internet Gambling in IrelandOnline gambling is currently legalized in Ireland, which was actually one of the first countries that is considered as one of the most liberal ones when it comes to making Internet-based gaming operations legal.

The web-based gambling operations were officially legalized in 2003, and the first bookmaking website was launched in 2004. Soon, it was successfully followed by other gambling operators in Ireland.

Up to date, the Irish Government is the one that issues licenses to web-based gambling operators that allow them run their activities on the territory of the country. Still, there is a large number of local sportsbooks which are hosted in foreign countries to evade tax issues. Making bets through outlandish online gambling operators is also legal in Ireland.

There was no tax or regulatory framework that would exclusively apply when it comes to online gambling in Ireland. After a certain period of consideration, the country’s Government made the decision of changing the status quo. The Irish Betting (Amendment) Bill was officially published in 2012. The Bill was especially pointed at filling the gap of the online gambling legislation, left by the already existing Betting Act of 1931.

According to the provisions of the Bill, all bookmakers that accept bets from local residents are required to get an Irish betting license. In addition, a “remote bookmakers” license is required from the operators that accept wagers over the Internet and generate more than €200,000 or 10% of their overall turnover online, no matter if they are based in Ireland or outside the country. The bookmakers and online casino operators that do not hold a license can be imposed criminal charges.

Despite all the good intentions of the local Government, the Bill did not manage to get to the parliamentary calendar in 2013. The officials announced that it will not be reviewed and considered until 2015 at the earliest.

There was also a proposal for increasing the taxation of online gambling activities in the country. However, the authorities revealed that the proposal will not be developed any time soon. The delay was announced by the country’s Minister of Finance. Still, the move has found a plausible explanation, as it was taken as a chance for bookmakers to take advantage of a grace period before the new taxation rules come into effect.

The new rules of taxation have been planed by the local authorities for several years now, but the legislation procedure was put off in time, until it was brought to a dead end.

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