The relatively small Irish nation is the home of many trademarks and traditions that are appreciated across the globe. We all know of the famous Irish whiskeys and the incredible dark Irish dry stout we all know by the name of Guinness. The list can easily go on with worldwide phenomena like the St. Patrick’s celebration, or the most acclaimed UFC fighter of all times – Conor McGregor. And there’s one more thing about Ireland that perfectly matches the topic of this article – they’re the fourth-largest producer of racehorses in the world and the nation with most horses per head in Europe.
When talking about betting sites, Ireland got its first ones around the racetrack. And with horse racing as a catalyst, betting rapidly expanded towards other popular Irish sports like Gaelic football, rugby, football and rugby. Betting got so popular that over 15% of all adults place a bet on a daily basis. Of course, all this was greatly influenced by modern times and progress in technology that set the scene for online betting. Ireland went for a relaxed approach regarding online betting sites and with the only laws regulating gambling issued in 1931 and 1956, there’s nothing preventing bookmakers from all around the world from focusing on Irish punters.
If you’re interested in the best betting sites, Ireland is a great place to be. Besides the giant Paddy Power, all the huge names in the industry are available for Irish punters. William Hill, Ladbrokes or Coral are just a few of the trustworthy bookies operating in the country. With such a competitive market of betting companies, Ireland is heaven for punters because that leads to excellent odds, better and better sign-up offers and exceptional customer support services. It goes without saying that a trustworthy licensing authority is a must and the vast majority of betting websites Ireland has to offer are licensed by either the UKGC or the MGA. And since we mentioned the huge interest for horse races among Irish punters, a good racebook becomes a mandatory item for any bookmaker that wants to be successful in the Emerald Isle.
As previously mentioned, the betting online Ireland landscape is very flexible when it comes to foreign betting sites. With no legal framework in place or a system to apply for local licenses, any operator is free to approach the Irish market. That’s why, when analyzing the betting industry, Ireland is one of the most diverse jurisdictions with over 300 international bookmakers with UK betting sites having a significant presence. So, no matter if you’re interested in horse racing, rugby or football betting in Ireland, this is the place to be if you’re looking to diversify your options and make sure you’re getting top service.
The lack of restrictions or regulations towards online betting activities also leads to a plethora of payment options you can pick from. The best bookmakers in Ireland will allow you to make deposits and withdraw your winnings via credit and debit cards, ewallets or online bank transfer. Cards, especially VISA, are high in Irish punters’ preferences when it comes to online betting while PayPal and other ewallets take the second position. With instant processing times and very low or no fees at all, it’s easy to understand why these payment options score high.
Yes, they are. Actually, you can go as far as saying that the Irish have their in-house betting exchange and it’s also the first exchange in the world – Betfair. Paddy Power, the local online betting giant, merged with Betfair in 2015 to create one of the strongest groups in the betting industry. So, if you want to experience a solid betting exchange, Ireland has you covered once again. Even more than that, Ladbrokes also entered the betting exchange territory through Betdaq so there’s plenty to choose from.
Looking back to the history of bookmakers, Ireland was always a prosperous place for business. Soon after the Irish Free State was established, the first Betting Act of the country was introduced. Initiated in 1926 and revised in 1931, the act stated that any bookmaker needed a licence from the government to continue their activity.
Later on, in 1956 the Gaming and Lotteries Act was put together. Even though it had no direct effects for betting in Ireland, this act regulated the lotteries and only allowed charity-associated ones to continue their activity. Furthermore, casinos all across the country were banned with the introduction of this law. However, the Irish were quick to take advantage of a loophole in legislation and established private members’ clubs. The legislation on lotteries was once again updated in 1986 through the National Lottery Act that allowed anyone over 18 to participate. With all the laws and gambling acts passed up until this point, there was no mention of a betting tax in Ireland to be applied.
1988 is also an important year for the Irish betting industry. It represents the moment three Irish bookmakers decided to pull their resources together. Stewart Kenny, John Corcoran and David Power put together their 40 betting shops to start the Paddy Power brand that dominates the local betting scene to date.
With the boom of online betting in 2000, the Irish authorities did not seem preoccupied to further regulate the industry. While other countries appointed a betting regulator, Ireland was happy to just leave things as they were and allow anyone to access the market. This relaxed position could also be influenced by the fact Paddy Power held and still holds a big share of the betting market so there wasn’t a real incentive for Irish punters to go for other international bookies.
While a Register of Licensed Remote Bookmaking Operations is in place within the Irish Tax and Customs authority, this isn’t marked as a mandatory step for a bookie. It looks like the authorities are happy to apply the 2% tax on the turnover of remote bookmakers that do register. Even so, talks over who regulates bookmakers in Ireland look to be, once again, underway. However, for now, there’s no blueprint in place for future actions.
Your best bet for filing a complaint regarding a bookie operating in Ireland is to directly approach its licensing authority. Since there’s no Irish bookmakers license system in place, there’s no national authority to take care of complaints or disputes. Alternatively, you can always come to us with any issue you are facing regarding any online sportsbook and we’ll do our best to mediate between you and the bookie.