The Luck of the Irish: Casinos and Gambling in Ireland

The Luck of the Irish: Casinos and Gambling in Ireland

By Alex J. Coyne © 2018 Great Bridge Links

You must’ve heard about the luck of the Irish before; the four leaf clover is a universal symbol for luck, and we all know that Leprechauns are associated with a pot of gold. But just how lucky are the Irish really? Alex and Great Bridge Links took a closer look at the casino and gambling industry in Ireland.

Irish Gambling Statistics

It’s estimated that an approximate 44% of adults in Ireland play the lottery and about 45% are bingo players                 . But it’s also estimated that gambling losses totalled an incredible 2.1 billion Euros in 2016. This means that Ireland sometimes loses big, but always goes big:

Paddy Power

Paddy Power is one of the largest betting companies in Ireland. Founded in 1988, they operate the official largest phone betting service in Ireland. But they do much more than just sports betting and gambling: They’re also known for betting extremely controversial odds that some would call in bad taste.

Really bad taste. Like betting on the outcome of the Oscar Pistorius murder trial, or the odds of the first species that’ll be driven to extinction in the BP oil spill. The first-mentioned sparked more than 5, 000 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority of the UK – and we can’t really blame them.

That’s not all: When Danish football player Nicklas Bendtner scored a goal during a match against Portugal in 2012, he flashed the crowd – with clear Paddy-Power branded underwear. 

The Irish Poker Open

The Irish Poker Open was founded in May 1979, and is currently one of the largest poker tournaments second to the WSOP. Terry Rogers, the bookmaker it all started with, is an interesting figure, and reportedly made spectators to the poker game pay the same entrance fee as the players themselves because he considered them a distraction from the game.

According to the official website, Terry once remarked: “Poker isn’t decadent, you know. These men are working for a living.”

Ireland’s Gambling Amendment Act

Gambling laws in Ireland have long been considered to be outdated, and gambling laws have been regulated in accordance with the Betting Act of 1931. Of course, way, way before things like online gambling and video poker existed.

The Betting Amendment Act 2015 was signed into effect on the 15th of March, 2015 to address these gaps in the current gambling laws. The Amendment Act makes provision for remote betting operations providing that they are licensed with the Irish Government.

The Betting Amendment Act defines three different betting licenses.

  • A Bookmaker’s License
  • A Remote Bookmaker’s License
  • An Intermediary Remote Betting License, for third-parties like betting exchanges.

Gambling in Northern Ireland

Casinos remain banned in Northern Ireland for the time being. Having said that, there has been a strong effort to bring the first legal casino to Northern Ireland in the past few years. The latest news we have is that Belfast City Council has been seeking public opinion about a casino in the area to land the 300 million pound casino deal. Time will have to tell what the opinion of the public is!

While casinos remain banned, gambling does not – and it’s a big industry in Northern Ireland. According to Cleaver Fulton Rankin, Northern Ireland has 330 bookmaking offices, and around 40 commercial bingo clubs. Impressive!

Want to check out gambling in Northern Ireland for yourself? Visit a site like to start!