Some forms of gambling have only been legal for the last 7-8 decades. As for the other forms of gambling that are still illegal, operators still find a “legal” way to offer them.
Then, over the past couple of years, additional changes or laws have been introduced to accommodate the newest way to gamble – the internet.
In fact, there was talk as recently as the end of 2017 about creating some kind of gaming commission because none currently exists in Ireland. This office, if approved, would oversee things like gambling addiction, advertising, and more.
You see what we mean about a roller coaster? Gambling is all over the place.
The good news is that online gambling is alive and well for Irish players. You have lots of options for where to bet and play. We’ve assessed all those options and compiled the following list of recommended sites for Irish gamblers.
The number of online gambling options you have in Ireland means that you should not feel like you need to skimp or sacrifice gaming options or features when choosing where to play. You should have no problem finding a gambling site with everything you want.
Now, you can find this site on your own, but it can take hours due to all the due diligence you’ll need to perform beforehand. You need to make sure the site you choose is licensed, reputable, runs fair games, and more.
A much faster alternative is to piggyback off our hard work. We’ve already done the due diligence for you. This means that you can choose a gambling site from the list above and be confident that you’re going to have a good time.
These sites were chosen first and foremost because of their reputation, licensing, and fair gaming. However, we also feel they’re worth recommending because of these reasons.
They have a diverse selection of betting and game options.
You have several promotions to choose from, no matter what you want to gamble on.
You can choose from several banking methods to fund your account and cash out your winnings.
You’d be hard-pressed to find gambling sites better than these.
In fact, why don’t we take a few minutes to talk in detail about how we go about choosing the best gambling sites for anyone, including those of you in Ireland? That way you can see the thought process that goes into each site we select.
Before we get into all that, here are some alternative recommendations you may want to check out. The sites listed on the following pages have been chosen based on more specific criteria than the ones above.
Choosing sites to recommend to our readers is no easy task. We can’t choose just any site. They need to meet our standards in several areas, as well as be a good fit for our readers – in this case, our readers in Ireland.
With that in mind, here are the things we look for.
Licensing and Regulatory Bodies
One of the first things we look for is whether the site is licensed, and if so, where the license comes from.
Ireland doesn’t have their own regulatory body…yet. It sounds like they’re working on it. That said, per the Betting (Amendment) Act 2015, any company that wants to offer services to players in Ireland needs to be licensed.
Now, while any license is better than no license, there are better jurisdictions and regulatory bodies than others. Some are stricter than others are. Some give you more options for reporting or seeking recourse against rogue operators than others do.
It just depends.
The licenses we prefer to see include those from the UK Gambling Commission, Malta Gaming Authority, and the Government of Gibraltar.
Any license is better than no license, though.
Well-Rounded Gaming/Betting Selection
The perfect scenario is finding a gambling site that offers all of the following products.
From here, we check each section to see how robust it is.
Few casinos excel in every area.
Most casinos will have a solid casino and/or sportsbook. The rest of their products will be average.
In rare cases, a casino will excel in more than one area, such as the casino and sportsbook or sportsbook and poker room. These are truly unicorns in the industry, and you should strongly consider joining them if possible.
But what makes a section “robust,” though? This is what we look for.
A large variety of casino games to choose from. This includes video poker and slot machines, scratch tickets, and a live dealer casino.
Lots of sports and betting markets. We prefer a sportsbook that covers all the basic sports (American football, basketball, baseball, football (soccer), hockey, etc.), as well as less-popular sports (handball, darts, etc.). Live betting and esports are both important to us nowadays, too.
Many bingo rooms and variants. Some bingo sites make the mistake of only having 80- or 90-ball bingo. We try to find sites with bingo sections that offer 30-, 40-, and 75-ball bingo, too.
Ultimately, we just try to make sure that the sites we choose are well-rounded, as that’s likely to appeal to more people. It gives you the best chance of finding something you want to play or bet on.
Offers for Every Gambling Product
Here are a couple of things that are important to us about offers.
There are offers for every product (sports, casino, poker, bingo, etc.) on their site.
We give more weight to game- or sport-specific offers. For example, live casino free bets, free soccer bets, free spins for slot machines, etc.
We look for and compare welcome bonuses. You should look at both the total amount (max bonus) and the match percentage. Pro tip: players on a budget will want to look for a higher match percentage since you’ll get more bang out of every buck you deposit.
Rollover requirements are important. How much money do you need to wager in order to cash out your winnings? The lower the amount, the better. You also need to look at things like if the bonus is cashable, how long you have to clear the bonus, and more.
Ideally, the site puts out regular offers, too, either by email, social media, or directly to you from within your player account.
One area that’s really important to use is VIP programs. The idea behind this is pretty simple – if you’re going to spend the money anyway, you might as well get something in return for it.
There are all sorts of VIP programs out there. Some have multiple levels, where you can earn perks like cash-back, bonuses, trips, higher stakes, cheaper banking, and more as you move up in levels.
Others are simpler. You’ll earn points for every dollar or ten you spend. Once you earn enough points, you can exchange them for cash-back.
Some VIP programs are separate from one product to the next. Others are combined. Ultimately, you won’t know which is best for you until you compare how hard it is to earn each perk and/or dollar in cash-back to the amount of money you have to spend to get it.
One thing is for sure, though – you should join a site with a VIP program over one that doesn’t have one, all other things being equal.
Banking Options, Limits, and Fees
Banking is important to consider regardless of if you’re looking for a sportsbook, a bingo site, or an all-in-one gambling site.
However, we could make an argument that it’s more important for our all-in-one site readers. We’ll tell you why in a second.
Banking options will be pretty much the same no matter what you play. What we look for is a wide range of popular options that are available worldwide. For example, banking options like these.
And so on.
But we also want to find gambling sites that also accept local banking options. For example, banking options like these.
Another thing we look at – and this is arguably why banking is far more important for all-in-one sites than specialized sites – is banking limits.
For example, if you want to play bingo, you don’t need high banking limits. A $100 or $250 bankroll will take you a long way. A bingo site with deposit and withdrawal limits that are around these amounts will suffice.
But what if you like to play bingo and play slots? What if you want to play slots for high stakes – say $100, $250, or $500 per spin? Then the banking limits need to be much higher to accommodate how much money you need for a bankroll.
The best gambling sites won’t have any deposit limits. They will also either have no cash-out limits (rare) or will have limits in the upper 5-figure and possibly even 6-figure range.
Last, we look at banking fees. We look for and prefer sites that don’t charge fees on deposits. These aren’t terribly hard to find.
Finding an Irish-friendly gambling site that doesn’t charge fees on cash-outs is far rarer. So rare, in fact, that you shouldn’t waste time trying to find one that doesn’t charge fees, but one that charges low fees instead.
You can expect to find fees in the $30-$60 range for bank wires. Most other fees will be a percentage somewhere in the 3%-5% range.
If possible, try to find the lowest fee. This is especially important for percentage-based fees.
These are the things we feel that are most important when choosing a gambling site for players in Ireland. We recommend you use these too if you decide to try to find a site on your own.
From here, your criteria will change based on what you want to play or bet on. In other words, if you want to primarily bet sports, you’ll want to find a site that has the sports betting markets, promos, features, and more that you’re interested in.
Keep in mind, though, that the more specific you get, the harder it can be to find a site that ticks all the boxes on your must-have list.
Is Gambling in Ireland Legal?
Gambling is legal in Ireland, but it’s taken a few years (okay, decades) to get to this point. The country isn’t done yet, either, as the country is still working on implementing new laws and even their own gaming commission, the Office of Gambling Control, Ireland (OGCI).
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s go back a few decades to see how the gambling laws have changed up until now.
The first law that was passed was the Betting Act 1931. This was followed by the Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1956. These laws regulated all legal gaming in the country.
The only legal form of gaming, though, was sports betting and the lottery – casinos were still illegal. However, because there were/are loopholes in the law, private “members-only” clubs that offered casino games emerged. These, apparently, weren’t breaking any laws and still exist today.
Then the 1931 bill was amended in 2015 with the Betting (Amendment) Act 2015. This update focused on licensing and taxation regarding operators. This amendment allowed operators to provide online gaming and betting services so long as they have a license and renew them every two years.
Operators will have to pay €10,000 for their license. The cost to renew their license will depend on their annual turnover. However, the limits range from €10,000 to €500,000 (based on a €500,000,000 annual turnover). Remote bookmakers pay a little less – a max of €200,000.
All bookmakers have to pay a 1% tax on their turnover.
The amendment prohibits operators from passing on these costs to their customers.
That’s gambling in Ireland in a nutshell.
While Irish gamblers don’t have all the options European or American gamblers do – legit brick-and-mortar casinos are a ways off, for example – you can still bet sports and horses, play the lottery, casino games, and whatever else you want online.
Seriously, you can join just about any online gambling site so long as they’re licensed and regulated. You know, so long as they’re following the rules.
Those are the only types of sites we recommend here. It’s for that reason that, if you’re looking for the best gambling sites for Ireland, we suggest you choose one from our list above. They’re all safe and high-quality sites that we’d play at ourselves.
FAQ for Gambling Online in Ireland
There are a few things that Irish gamblers should know about gambling online or off in Ireland. Between that and the questions we get, we figured it’d be helpful to include an FAQ section.
What you’ll find below are the commonly-asked questions we get and our answers about gambling in Ireland.
What’s the gambling age in Ireland?
The earlier gambling laws, such as the Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1956, allowed people as young as 16 to participate in gaming amusement halls.
However, the standard today is that you need to be 18 years old in order to gamble online or off. Some of Ireland’s “members-only” clubs may even require you to be 21 before you can join.
Can players in Ireland play at offshore gambling sites?
Yes, so long as the operators are following the rules. They need to be licensed, renew their license every couple of years, and pay their taxes/dues.
Do you need to pay taxes on your winnings?
We’re not lawyers, so it’s a good idea to do your own due diligence with someone who is.
That said, it looks like players aren’t currently taxed on their gambling winnings. The money you win from gambling isn’t considered income or capital gain, but instead the “receipt of luck.”
Can Irish gamblers claim bonuses?
Yeah, casinos don’t prohibit players from Ireland from claiming their deals. Irish players will be able to claim all sorts of deals. For example:
Free bingo tickets
You’ll also be able to participate in VIP programs, if the gambling site has one. With a VIP program, you can earn additional perks, such as cash-back, bonuses, the ability to play for higher stakes, expedited cash-outs, and more.
The trick is finding the gambling site that has the best offers for the games you want to play.
What currency can I play in?
Most gambling sites will let you play in several currencies. The sites in our list will let you play in euros and pounds, and often even in USD, CA, and AU.
Do you need special software to gamble online?
Not usually. If you have a computer made within the last 5 or maybe 10 years, you should be okay. If the casino has a download, it’s possible they have a less intense version that will use up less of your computer’s resources – if that’s a concern.
Most casinos nowadays don’t even offer download but instead browser casinos. All you’ll need in those cases – for no-download, instant-play, or browser casinos – is a computer, web browser (Chrome, Safari, and Firefox are good options), and Adobe Flash.
Can I gamble from my phone and/or tablet?
Yes. Because most casinos offer instant-play casinos, most times you won’t even have to download an app. Just go to the casino of your choice from your mobile web browser, and you’ll be able to sign up, deposit, and play from your device.
The most commonly-supported devices are those that run on iOS or Android software. Blackberry and Windows-powered devices are hit or miss.
In some cases, there will be an app for you to download. Sometimes it will depend on what exactly you want to play or bet on. In other words, there might be an app for the poker room or sportsbook, but not the casino.
There’s pretty much no limits to what you can play, so long as you can find a casino that offers it. For example, you can expect to find the following games online:
Choose from a variety of 3, 5, 6, and 9-reel machines. You can play classic and video slot machines, as well as slots with progressive jackpots, bonus rounds, free spins, wilds, and more.
Play games like blackjack, roulette, Three Card Poker, Caribbean Stud, craps, Casino Hold’em, and more. Many casinos offer lots of game variants, too.
Choose from games like Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild, 10s or Better, Loose Deuces, and more.
Play live casino games such as blackjack, roulette, Casino Hold’em, and more.
It shouldn’t be terribly difficult to find a casino that offers all of the games mentioned above and then some. Many casinos available to players in Ireland will have hundreds or even more than a thousand games.
Is it safe to gamble online?
Yes. This might sound like hyperbole, but you could say that it’s just as safe to gamble online as it is to bank or shop online. Online gambling sites use similar encryption technology to keep your private information private.
Combine that with the fact that operators need to follow laws and be licensed in order to offer games to Irish players, and you have an excellent recipe for a safe gambling experience.