Just like prohibition couldn’t stop alcohol in the United States at the turn of the 19th century, making gambling illegal in Ireland couldn’t stop people from wagering. After the Irish government realized that its citizens were going to gamble, whether legislators wanted them to or not, so they did the sensible thing. They passed laws to regulate the activity instead of continuing to engage in a futile attempt to ban it altogether.
By passing a series of Acts, and amendments and creating regulatory bodies like the Irish Revenue Commissioners, Ireland has assembled a comprehensive set of laws and regulations that fully legalize gambling in the country. Those procedures protect consumers and provide social funding to help those who experience problems with their gambling activities.
This article offers a birds-ey view of the evolution of regulations and legislation that governs how gambling takes place in Ireland.
The 1922 Betting Act
The Betting Act was introduced in 1922 to address growing concerns about illegal booking operations in the country. It was the first step toward reigning in a free-wheeling industry that frequently abused players to enrich game operators.
Under the Act, gaming operators must obtain a license from the state and publicly display that license in a conspicuous place for all to see and verify. These requirements remain in place until this day, and all subsequent amendments and legislation passed are built upon the foundation laid by the 1922 landmark legislative feat. And online casinos in Ireland are backed by physical gambling halls that are already licensed and meet the gaming authority’s requirements.
Many different betting opportunities exist in Ireland, yet the National Lottery reigns supreme as the number one choice for gamblers who want a safe and fair option to play, with sports betting coming in second. Irish players also bet on horse racing, football, and rugby, three prevalent sports in the country that garner great excitement and attention. Online casinos in Ireland like Betfree Slots also offer jackpot games, roulette, slots, and many other digital experiences.
The 2013 Gambling Control Bill
The gaming control bill enacted in 2013 restricts the number of land-based casinos to only 40 establishments. With only 25 licenses issued to date, there is still room to grow.
Ireland is still trying to establish a standardized central regulating authority to govern online and offline gambling throughout the country. However, The Gambling Regulatory Authority is slated to be activated by 2023, and it is anticipated that it will be the primary authority, but it is not guaranteed.
The country is also struggling with establishing an appropriate and accurate taxation schema that generates enough revenue to fund the oversight bureaucracy and add to the nation’s coffers.
The Future of Gambling in Ireland
Overall, the general sentiment in Ireland is that a well-defined set of laws and regulations currently exist that adequately represent the interests of the gambling industry and consumers. But the structure is far from perfect. Additional rules are being proposed regularly, such as banning the ability to place bets during live sports games and using credit cards as a payment method when gambling.
Some proposals have already been passed and made into law, and others are still hotly debated as opposing constituents of the argument make their respective cases.
The basic framework of regulating gambling in Ireland is firmly in place. To legally gamble in the country, the following basic rules apply to both gamblers and gambling establishment operators:
- Online and land-based betting is legal
- Operators must pay taxes and annual license fees based on revenues
- The Irish Revenue Commissioners presently regulate casinos
- The minimum legal age to gamble is 18 years old
When online gambling in Ireland, ensure that the site you’re using is licensed and registered by the Revenue Commissioners and other appropriate international regulatory bodies such as the UK Gambling Commission.