The gambling laws in Ireland can be confusing simply because of the changes that have taken place over the last 10 years within the regulatory structure of the Irish gambling industry. While all of these changes may be hard to keep up with, they demonstrate Ireland’s commitment to remaining relevant and keeping pace in a thriving, technology driven industry that will not withstand an outdated set of statutes or laws.
This page was developed by experienced gambling industry professionals who have an insightful and thorough understanding of legal online gambling in Ireland. They are not lawyers however, and do not provide legal advice or professional legal services of any kind. If you are seeking legal advice concerning gambling in Ireland, we suggest you contact an attorney who specializes in gambling laws.
Gambling Laws in Ireland
Regulated gambling in Ireland began taking shape in the mid 1800s with the Betting Act of 1854, and has very slowly evolved into the more modern regulatory structure you see now. Ireland’s lawmaker have worked hard to get their legal status up to par with the current gambling industry environment that is present world wide. It may have taken some time for this to happen, and it may not yet be perfect, but it certainly is getting better and better, with the changes clearly resonating the nation’s interest in establishing itself as a significant presence in the global gambling market. This page will take a look at relevant gambling laws broken down by betting venue.
Casino Gambling Laws in Ireland
Before 1956, there was not much regulatory oversight concerning most forms of gambling in Ireland. Casino gambling was finally addressed through the Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1956. The law prohibits commercial casinos from operating in Ireland. A loophole in the law has driven innovative business owners to establish members only gambling clubs, which are not prohibited in Ireland. These clubs are essentially mini-casinos that provide various casino games, including slots, video poker, poker games and blackjack, among other games. There are approximately 14 of these destinations in Ireland at the time of this writing, and they require a membership in order to participate. Most of them are known as clubs, but a few are actually called casinos. Playing casino games for real money at these clubs does not violate the Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1956.
An effort was recently made to legalize casino gambling in Ireland and provide a regulatory infrastructure for playing casino games for real money on a large scale. The Gambling Control Bill of 2013, authored by Alan Shatter, has not yet been passed by Parliament. If passed, the bill will allow up to 40 legal land based casinos with up to 15 tables each. The bill also included provisions for regulating and expanding the casino, poker and bingo industry both online and offline. There is no estimate of when the passage of this bill may take place.
Online Casino Gambling Laws in Ireland
Online casino gambling is also legal in Ireland. Ireland’s gambling laws have specifically made it legal for citizens to engage in licensed and regulated offshore gambling as well as licensed domestic online gambling. Online casino gambling really emerged in 2001, but it wasn’t until 2003 that Ireland really embraced the concept more fully and began integrating locally licensed interactive betting into their gambling market. Currently both locally licensed and licensed offshore online casino gambling is legal for Irish citizens to enjoy. You can visit our page covering Ireland online casinos to learn more about the leading online casino destinations that welcome Irish players.
Poker Laws In Ireland
Live poker is legally available through several of the various gambling clubs located in Ireland. Since most forms of gambling are prohibited through the Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1956, including commercial casinos and poker rooms, punters are limited to one of the 14 gambling clubs located in Ireland if they are seeking live poker action. These destinations offer live poker games, just not on a very large scale in most cases. Due to the limits of land based poker in Ireland, many players have elected to engage in the further reaching legal online poker options afforded to Irish players.
The Irish Open Poker Tournament is Europe’s largest poker tournament, and the second longest running No Limit Texas Holdem tournament in the world. This is a strong indication of the following poker holds in the gambling industry in Ireland. Poker is undeniably a significant presence in the fabric of Irish gambling entertainment.
Laws About Playing Online Poker In Ireland
Like the casino niche, poker is legally available online through both domestically licensed and offshore licensed online poker rooms. You will find a listing of the online poker sites that our analysts have vetted and approved as premium, Irish online poker rooms. Each of them is legally licensed and regulated through either the Republic of Ireland or a respected governing jurisdiction located offshore.
Sports Betting Laws in Ireland
Bookmaking and pari-mutuel wagering have the longest standing history in Ireland. This being the case, the nation’s earliest gambling laws were focused on these venues. The Betting Act of 1931 regulated all sports betting activities until 2015. Bookmaking has been and continues to be the most popular form of gambling among Irish citizens. This 1931 law has finally been updated with recent legislation that is more relevant to modern bookmaking entertainment, known as the Betting (Amendment) Act of 2015. This Act was signed into law in 2015, and was enacted to establish a means for offshore sportsbooks and betting exchanges to become integrated into Irish licensing policies and taxation requirements. The law effectively alters standard bookmaking licensing to also include limited remote betting with revenue restrictions. This bill had made it illegal for online betting businesses to offer their services to Irish citizens without first acquiring a remote bookmaker or betting intermediary license. Specific licensing requirements and procedures are established in the Betting (Amendment) Act 2015.
Learn more in our Ireland sports betting section.
Pari-Mutuel Wagering Laws
Pari-mutuel wagering has long been a part of Ireland’s gambling culture, well before regulated gambling took shape in the nation. The most current legislation related to racing is the Horse and Greyhound Racing Act 2001. This law created Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) to oversee the administration, development and regulation of the industry. The law also dissolved the Irish Horse Racing Authority, while effectively amending and extending the Horseracing Industry Act of 1994, the Greyhound Industry Act of 1958 and the Betting Act of 1931. Irish citizens can bet on horse races both online and offline from domestically licensed racetracks and bookmakers as well as online at legally licensed offshore sportsbooks.
Bingo Laws And Regulations In Ireland
The Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1956 prohibits commercial bingo halls and bingo games for real money outside of licensed charitable gambling events. That being said, bingo proprietors simply use the same loophole as do the casino and poker gambling venues, and have proceeded to establish multiple bingo gambling clubs. These clubs offer a bingo hall environment and the opportunity to play bingo for real money.
As an alternative, there are a number of legally sanctioned, high quality online bingo opportunities available to Irish punters offered through both domestically based and international bingo sites. The bingo sites you see mentioned in our guide to understanding Legal Bingo Gambling Options in Ireland will provide you with a refined listing of the industry’s leading online bingo sites that are legally licensed and regulated, and that accept players from Ireland.
Lottery Laws In IE
The nation’s lottery industry was created through the National Lottery Act of 1986, and was established for the purpose of raising funds for good causes. Operations for the National Lottery began in 1987 with scratchcard games, followed by the Lotto game in 1988. You can play three types of drawing games in Ireland, including Lotto, EuroMillions and Daily Million. The National Lottery also funds televised bingo and games shows, sells scratchcards and operates Millionaire Raffles.
Fast forward to today’s technological age and we see Ireland’s legal lottery industry enact the National Lottery Act of 2013. This law was established to facilitate the sale of the National Lottery License to a third party. This was driven by financial hardships experienced by the Republic of Ireland, and provided swift financial relief for them. In addition, the law eliminated restrictions on interactive gambling in order to foster the online sale of lottery tickets. A portion of the sale from the national lottery license was used to assist in the building of a national children’s hospital.
Recent Gambling Legislation In Ireland
The gambling markets in Ireland and around the world are consistently evolving, particularly with the integration of online betting into the gambling entertainment industry. Here we will take a look at recent or pending legislation that is becoming a part of the regulatory framework of Irish gambling laws.
Courts & Civil Liabilities (Miscellaneous Provisions) 2017
The Irish Cabinet recently approved new legislation that would amend a few things with the current gambling law. The Courts and Civil Liabilities (Miscellaneous Provisions) bill is modernizing the Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1956. The bill raises the legal gambling age from 16 to 18. The current legislation permits 16-year-olds to enter establishments like carnivals and amusement halls with slot machines, funfairs or sports betting events. The new bill also raises the stakes and prize pot limits of local lotteries. The standing legislation requires lotteries of up to €5,000 to obtain a permit from a Garda superintendent and lotteries with prizes up to €30,000 to get a license from the District Court. As things stand now, Parliament is aiming to have this legislation voted on and approved by the end of the year.