Gambling is a globally relevant activity, and has been part of human culture for millennia, so it’s perhaps surprising that it is also heavily regulated, restricted and even outright banned in lots of parts of the world.
Ireland has an interesting relationship with games of chance, so let’s go over a few of the facts that define how the industry is overseen and operated on Irish soil to bring you up to speed.
There isn’t a central regulatory body…yet
It might surprise you to learn that, unlike in the UK, there’s no distinct regulator set up specifically to deal with the issue of gambling in Ireland.
However, plans to establish such an organization are being pushed forward, and politicians and legislators freely admit that the existing legislation is simply not up to the task of dealing with the way that this industry has changed and evolved in recent years.
This isn’t just a necessary change to help better orchestrate the industry, but also to ensure that there are provisions in place to deal with the small percentage of problem gamblers that exist in any society where legal casinos and wagering are available.
Online gambling was formally legalized in 2015
Back in 2015, major updates to the Betting Act which had originally been put into place in the 1930s were made in order to encompass the role that online casinos had begun to play in Ireland since they were first introduced with the rise of internet technologies.
The idea was to provide licenses for domestic operators, as well as to codify the way that overseas operators were regulated and taxed.
Casinos which are licensed by the UK Gambling Commission, for example, are considered adequately well organized and scrutinized to be legal for players in Ireland to access.
Still, if you want to enjoy the best Irish casinos, it is best to stick with sites that undoubtedly hold the right licenses under the current system.
Land-based casino expansion is still up in the air
There are physical casinos in many places throughout the UK, but in Ireland there has not been such a wide rollout of these venues, largely because of ongoing disagreements about how to regulate them, and whether to allow them in the first place.
The Gambling Control Bill has been rumbling along for almost a decade without being passed, and if it were accepted in its original form, land-based casinos with table games, slots and other facilities could crop up nationwide.
This pinpoints the common dilemma that regulators and politicians face when coming up against the issue of gambling. There is often resistance to accepting legal gambling, whether online or in the face, because of fears around the ethics of it.
However, wherever betting is outlawed or inhibited, it invariably takes place on the black market instead, depriving the public purse of tax revenues as a result.
Ultimately, it seems likely that laws will change in favor of a more liberal approach to casino gambling, as they have for online betting. Until then, fans will have to wait patiently to see how the chips fall.
Most forms of gambling are allowed on the web
We mentioned that authorities had given the go-ahead for legal online gambling in Ireland, but it’s worth discussing exactly the types of activities which players can enjoy when they sign up to a typical casino site.
You can get your usual mix of digital versions of traditional table games, such as poker and blackjack, as well as live variants which are handled by real croupiers and streamed to participants in the comfort of their own homes.
Sports book services are also a hit with people nationally, particularly those that focus on horse racing, which has been a major part of Irish culture for centuries.
Online bingo sites and lotteries are perhaps the simplest forms of online gambling which can be played legally in Ireland, although slots games are also a doddle to pick up and enjoy, even for amateurs.
The future is tricky to predict
Lots of signs suggest that once Ireland has a full blown, independent regulator in place to take the reins of the gambling industry, a lot of changes will be on the cards.
While this might mean that some portions of the industry are tightened up and managed more strictly, it could also lead to a more liberate attitude to gambling being adopted.
As mentioned, the reality is that gambling is nothing new, and it’s not going to go away whether it’s regulated or not. It is better to bring it under the umbrella of Irish law, and ensure that taxable revenues are generated so that they can be put to good use, rather than to allow it to exist in some legal gray area, or to be banned altogether.
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