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What you need to know about Irish gambling laws


The Republic of Ireland has a massive connection with gambling, and along with sport, music and literature, it has secured its position as one of the cornerstones of Irish culture.

The first signs of gambling in Ireland predate the arrival of both the Romans and the Christians. If, at times, you find it difficult to keep up to date with the gambling laws in Ireland, don’t worry, you’re not the only one. 

The gambling industry is always evolving, especially since the introduction of technology, and Ireland’s gambling laws are no exception.

There have been numerous changes within the regulatory structure of the Irish gambling industry over the past decade.

These changes are in order to keep up to date with a rapidly developing industry. So, if you are unsure of the current legislation or just want a refresh, we have all the information here.

Photo by Heather Gill on Unsplash

Ireland’s First Gambling Act

Ireland’s first gambling act was established in 1854, with further regulations being introduced in subsequent acts, in order to keep up to date with an ever-changing industry.

Gambling is one of the largest industries in the Irish economy and has remained as one of the most popular pastimes in the country since its regulation.

Naturally, technology has had a major impact on the gambling environment as a whole and Ireland has continually updated its rules and regulations in order to remain as one of the leading countries in the industry.

Casino Gambling Laws

The Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1956 addressed casino gambling and gaming machines in public amusement arcades. This act also prohibited the operation of commercial casinos in the Republic of Ireland.

However, this has not stopped the industry from developing. Currently, there are twelve casino clubs in Ireland, seven of which are in the capital, Dublin.

Casino clubs operate based on a loophole in the law, which allows businesses to open under a members-only business model. These casino clubs are legal and do not violate the Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1956.

Logging In to Cash Out

Online gambling in Ireland became popular in the early 2000s and has quickly established itself as one of the most popular and lucrative forms of betting.

Online gambling in Ireland is booming; advancements in betting technology have meant that it has gone from strength to strength allowing customers to enjoy their favourite pastime from the comfort of their own home.

The Betting (Amendment) Act was passed in 2015 allowing online gambling to be engaged with legally in Ireland. The 2015 act was an update on the Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1956, taking technological advancements into account in order to remain relevant in the evolving industry.

An estimated 12 per cent of the adult population engage in online gambling, which is why it is so important to regularly re-evaluate the legislation in place.

The popularity of online gambling has led to the fierce competition within the industry in Ireland and led to production of user friendly and convenient online websites and apps, with Paddy Power and Boylesports sitting at the top of the pile. 

Moving with The Times

The modernization of stake and prize amounts falls under the responsibilities of the Minister of Justice and Equality and it has been a recent hot topic on the Emerald Isle.

The previous gambling legislation had been in place since the Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1956 with the maximum allowable stake set at 3 cents and the maximum prize amount at 50 cents.

The limits had remained the same for over 50 years and the government has explained that recent changes were due to a need modernise. Recent changes have been described as a step in the right direction.

It was originally proposed to increase the maximum allowable stake to €10 and the maximum prize amount to €750, however, after a debate in the summer of 2019, it was changed to €5 and €500 respectively.  

Onwards and Upwards

Due to the nature of the pastime, as well as technological advancements, and the continuing development of online gambling, Ireland will continue to amend its betting laws in order to stay ahead of the curve in an ever-evolving industry.

So far, Ireland has managed to do this and with gambling being an important fabric of the culture, it is likely to grow side by side with a technology driven industry that is showing no signs of slowing down.