In this article, we’ll dive deep into the gambling scene in Ireland. We’ll explore the history of gambling, discuss the current legal status of various games, and serve you a list of top sites accessible to Irish players. We’ll also shed light on how we pick top-tier casinos, discuss casino bonuses, and chat about Ireland’s bookies. We won’t forget to cover land-based casinos, national lotteries, and other popular types of betting.
Best Online Casinos For Ireland People
Since 2015, online casino activity has been legal in Ireland. Players have access to both local sites licensed by the government and offshore joints.
There are many key aspects to keep an eye out for when picking a casino. We’ll get to those later, but for now, let’s present the cream of the crop when it comes to online casinos in Ireland:
Gambling got its legal status back in 1931 with the enactment of the Betting Act, which set the rules for sports betting. This led to legal horse racing, dog racing, and several other sports betting.
The next big law was the Gaming and Lotteries Act, issued in 1956. It had a much broader legislative base and covered more than just sports betting. It banned the creation of ground casinos, but there was a loophole. Private clubs with slot machines and various tables were still permitted. As long as such a club wasn’t too large (up to 200 machines and 30 tables), it didn’t count as a casino and hence was legal. This kind of casino is still common in Ireland today.
The act was later supplemented in 1986 and 2003, receiving new modifications associated with the emergence of new technologies and more thorough regulation. Besides casinos, lotteries were also regulated, and private individuals could organize them (except for national lotteries).
With the advent of the Internet, various online casinos and bookmakers appeared. They didn’t have a specific legal status until 2015 when the Betting (Amendment) Act was issued. It fully legalized online gambling operations. Plus, it outlined the way online casinos and bookmakers could advertise, allowing them to promote themselves even in local newspapers. The release of this law allowed online casinos to operate not only within Ireland but also abroad, with relatively low taxes. As a result, many local sites expanded beyond the country, considering Ireland an attractive offshore zone.
Legality and regulation of gambling
At the moment in Ireland there are several key laws that regulate the industry as a whole. These are, first of all, the Gaming and Lotteries Act, according to which the following types of gambling are fully legal in the country:
Land-based casinos (in the format of small private clubs)
Private and state lotteries
Sports betting (horse and dog racing and other sports)
Table and card games outside of the home (roulette, poker, blejack).
Another important law is the Betting (Amendment) Act of 2015, it established legal status for the following industries:
Online casinos became fully legal, including allowing them to operate outside of Ireland
Bookmakers can operate on the internet
Choosing the best online casinos in Ireland
Now, as promised, we’re gonna dig into some key aspects to consider when picking an Irish online casino. First up, it’s all about checking for a legit license and scouring the reviews from actual players. Secondly, it’s worth knowing the casino’s bonus policies and what payment systems they’re packing. Finally, you gotta suss out the customer support schedule and how well their website jives with mobile devices. We’re gonna dive into all these points right now.
Legality and Safety
Having a license in hand is your golden ticket to fair and safe play in an online casino. In our reviews, we always do a thorough background check on the casino’s license. In Ireland’s case, it can be homegrown or from abroad. Local licenses are self-explanatory, but the most trusted foreign authorities include the MGA, Curacao, and UKGC.
Scanning real player reviews is a quick ‘n easy way to get the lowdown on how a casino treats its users. You can do this by reading casino reviews or checking comments on specialized websites. Some top sites for this include world-casino-ga.com and ga.castop.net.
Bonuses & Promotions
There’s no restrictions on bonus policies for Irish players. Therefore, when sizing up an online casino, we pay special attention to existing bonuses. The sweeter the bonus program, the higher the score for that casino. We’ll talk more about different types of bonuses in the appropriate section of this article.
Having a range of convenient payment methods is a major plus for any casino. Not all players want to spread their bank details far and wide, right? As a result, the use of e-wallets, prepaid cards, or other electronic services is a common practice. In the best casinos, you’ll always find plenty of deposit methods.
You can get the scoop on any info you need from customer support. In a top-notch casino, they’re not only on call 24/7, but they’re also multilingual – including in Irish, because without it, top-level communication is impossible.
As many players like to spin the reels on their mobile phones, the question of website adaptation for smartphones arises. In the best Irish online casinos, this issue is already solved. You can comfortably play from your phone or tablet, as well as easily make deposits and withdrawals.
Bonuses and promotions for Irish players
Now we’d like to delve deeper into the different types of bonuses available in online casinos. New players can take advantage of a welcome bonus, which bumps up your initial deposit. Also worth mentioning is the ongoing bonus program, which comes in the form of reloads, cashbacks, and special promotions run by the casino. And of course, don’t forget about VIP schemes and tournaments, which are run by both the game providers and the casino itself.
Right after registration, you get access to the welcome bonus, which in the top casinos is a whole goodie bag. It includes deposit boosts and a certain number of free spins. And the good part? This applies to several of your first deposits.
Regular Player Bonuses
Once you’ve used up the welcome bonus, you’re introduced to the regular bonus program. This varies from casino to casino. The most popular bonuses are regular reloads and cashbacks, as well as gifts you get when you reach a certain level in the VIP system.
For instance, Fairspin Casino has a unique “tokenized cashback” feature. This gives you a TFS token for every bet you place. You can cash it out and convert it to real cash, or invest it to earn a share of the casino’s profit.
Races and Tournaments
Another way to get extra rewards and spice up your game is by participating in tournaments. These are usually hosted by the casino itself and the providers it works with. Any player can participate, you just need to sign up and learn the rules. Then, do the required action in the slot list and earn tournament points.
Spinomenal Series Tournament – a series of tournaments from the provider Spinomenal, with a total prize pool of €100,000
“Lucky Spin” slot race – a race from BetAmo Casino with a total prize pool of €30,000 and 30,000 free spins each month
Table Battle – a weekly table games tournament with a prize pool of €2022
Free Spin Challenge – 750 free spins every day in 3 special races
Drops & Wins – a tournament from Pragmatic Play with a monthly prize pool of €1,000,000
Sports betting in Ireland
This type of gambling has been legal in Ireland since 1931. That’s when the first law, the Gaming Act, was passed, setting the rules for getting a license and a list of allowed sports. Over time, it has been amended and updated multiple times. Since 2015, online betting has also been permitted. As a result, there’s a good number of bookmakers operating in the country. The big names include Paddy Power, 20bet, Parimatch, bet365, 888sport.
The industry turnover exceeds 1 billion euros per year, which is massive, considering a population of around 5 million. Statistics show that one in five residents regularly place sports bets. Sports are also extremely popular in Ireland, especially team sports. These are the ones most bets are placed on. We’ve compiled a ranking of the most popular sports:
Football – Being neighbours with England, Ireland has embraced the love of football. The country boasts two major leagues: the Northern and Southern. They’re both part of the Football Association of Ireland (FAI). The national team, by the way, ranks 30th in the world, which is considered a pretty solid achievement.
Gaelic Games (GAA) – These are a couple of national sports that, combined, can give football a run for its money in terms of popularity. They include handball and camogie, plus the two most popular sports: Gaelic football and hurling. All four are part of the national governing body known as the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA).
Rugby – This is a sport where Ireland has really made its mark. The national team has bagged the Six Nations Cup and the Grand Slam tournament multiple times. The country has its own federation, the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU), and there are over 100 different clubs. The total number of players, including amateurs, tops 90,000.
Athletics – This is a sport that for many Irish folks is a big part of life. It’s not just about keeping fit, but also having a good time. There are loads of regular marathons in the country, like the Connemarathon in Galway, or the Wild Atlantic Ultra in Mayo.
Golf – A whole bunch of Irish folk are really into golf. No wonder, with names like Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, and Padraig Harrington known well beyond the borders of Ireland. Thanks to them, golf gets plenty of airtime in the country.
Convenient payment systems
Ireland is known for its e-commerce industry. The country is home to many IT companies that are actively developing the market both within Ireland and beyond. This has led to the fact that not all players prefer the “classic” deposit method, using bank cards. Many actively use e-wallets, prepaid card services, and so on. So we decided to make a shortlist of the most popular payment methods.
This method traditionally tops the popularity charts in countries where online casinos are legal. Topping up an online casino account with a Visa/MasterCard/Maestro card is a pretty simple process, but this method has its drawbacks. Among them is the need to leave your details on the casino site, as well as the transfer time, which depends on your bank.
The younger generation of players actively uses this method. This is due to both the convenience in controlling gambling expenses and the high speed of transactions. Wallets such as PayPal, Skrill, and Neteller are the most popular.
Prepaid Card Services
Another quick way to top up your online casino account in Ireland is by using prepaid cards. With services like PaySafeCard, you can buy an electronic card for a certain amount, and then use it to top up your online casino account. It’s quick, convenient, and safe.
This payment method is losing steam due to slow transaction times. Nevertheless, its upgraded version is gaining more and more followers. I’m talking about special services like AstroPay or EcoPayz, where you can link your bank account and speed up the payment processing time. This option is neat because it’s much safer than using a bank card directly.
A relatively new way to top up your online casino or bookie account. What’s handy is that transactions usually take less than 10-15 minutes, both for deposits and withdrawals. For most cryptocurrencies, fees are minimal and don’t exceed a few euros, and the fee size doesn’t depend on the transfer amount.
NOTIFY As of now, buying and selling cryptocurrencies is permitted in Ireland, with the key legislation being the International Financial service Strategy 2025 (IFS20250). Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Ireland has no plans to impose any restrictions on the crypto market or regulate it in any specific way.
This not only creates a favorable environment for the industry to develop but also simplifies the process of buying, selling, and investing in cryptocurrencies. As a result, you’re free to use cryptocurrencies to top up your online casino account.
Popular gambling providers in Ireland
It’s worth noting that in Ireland, well-known developers who are recognized industry leaders are most popular. The Irish appreciate high win potential and pleasing visuals, which, combined with interesting game mechanics, turns gaming into a memorable experience. We’ve put together a ranking of the most popular providers for you.
A relatively young developer who managed to climb to the top of the heap in record time. Their success is due not only to a talented team of developers but also to a smart market vision.
This Swedish provider has been around since the late 20th century. Over this time, they’ve developed a vast array of games covering a variety of themes. They’re full of interesting game solutions and unconventional ideas.
The largest provider of live dealer games, hosting some well-known providers under its wing. They’re an undisputed leader in the industry, producing high-quality products. These include table and card games, as well as special game shows.
A renowned developer that places a significant emphasis on high-quality 3D graphics in their products. Another important point is their games’ mobile adaptability, which deserves a special mention.
This veteran provider has won over players worldwide. Their special series of slots and games with progressive jackpots, like Divine Fortune, are particularly popular.
Land-based casinos in Ireland
Technically, brick-and-mortar casinos are a no-go in Ireland, but there’s a nifty little loophole in the existing law. It allows any small joint owner to put in a slot machine or a table for board/card games. Hence, there are a bunch of “gaming clubs” scattered around the country, each housing a modest number of slot machines (usually not more than 200) and gaming tables (mostly up to 30). But we’d still like to highlight a couple of the big players.
Carlton Casino Club – this gaming club is smack in the middle of the Irish capital, Dublin. It’s one of the hotspots in the country, offering a decent gaming arsenal and top-notch service. Speaking of the gaming arsenal: it houses around 100 slot machines, including video poker, and about 20 tables for board and card games (roulette, blackjack, baccarat, various kinds of poker).
Emerald Casino – another well-known Dublin haunt that also doubles up as a billiards club. This place regularly hosts bingo games, which makes it a unique hub as it combines three different kinds of entertainment in one spot. The gaming arsenal here is a bit larger than the previous joint. The Emerald Casino boasts about 200 slot machines from various developers, over 20 gaming tables (board and card games), and a hall with 200 seats for bingo. Most of the tables are dedicated to poker, and they regularly host major poker tournaments.
Lotteries and other gambling entertainment in Ireland
Lotteries are pretty popular in Ireland. By some estimates, up to half of all residents buy lottery tickets. As a result, this sector takes up the lion’s share of the gambling market.
There’s a slew of private lotteries in Ireland, but the national lotteries, run by the Premier Lotteries Ireland Designated Activity Company, take the cake. Let’s talk more about them.
Lotto – your classic lottery, run in a 6/47 format. After buying a ticket for €2, you gotta pick 6 numbers between 1 and 47, or use the quick pick feature. For an extra euro, you can also enter the Lotto Plus draw, with a top prize of €1,000,000. This lottery has 8 prize tiers:
Number of matches
1 to 10 737 573
>€ 2 000 000
5 + bonus number
1 to 1 789 596
1 to 44 470
4 + bonus number
1 to 17 896
1 to 918
3 + bonus number
1 to 688
1 to 54
2 + bonus number
1 to 72
The minimum jackpot is €2,000,000. If it isn’t won, it rolls over to the next draw. The draws take place every Wednesday and Saturday at 8 PM local time.
Daily Million – a daily lottery, dishing out over €1,000,000. After buying a ticket for €1, you have to choose 6 numbers between 1 and 39. For an additional 50 cents, you can also enter the Daily Million Plus draw, where the jackpot is €500,000. These draws happen twice a day at 2 PM and 9 PM local time.
There are 7 prize categories in this lottery. The more matches you get, the bigger the bounty. The payouts are fixed, so the jackpot doesn’t roll over to the next draw.
Number of matches
€ 1 000 000
5 + bonus number
€ 10 000
4 + bonus number
3 + bonus number
It’s worth noting the popularity of another game of chance, namely poker. There’s a ton of poker clubs in Ireland, so you can find a game in a brick-and-mortar setting not just in casinos. Online poker fans won’t be disappointed either, as there’s no ban on this game. As a result, major poker rooms like PokerStars, 888poker, GGpoker, and PartyPoker happily welcome Irish players.
Reliability and safety of online casinos in Ireland
As mentioned earlier, since 2015, online casinos have been totally legit in Ireland. This led to the creation of a local license, issued by the Irish Revenue Commission (IRC). This body sets the requirements and ensures license rules are followed, as well as protecting the interests of players. If any shenanigans occur with a licensed casino, you can always reach out to this body directly.
Another option is playing in offshore joints operating under international licenses. They’re usually more popular than local sites, but players might understandably ask: how safe is it to play on a foreign site? Rest easy, the game’s entirely fair and safe, provided the casino is licensed by major regulators (MGA, Curacao, UKGC). In case of any disputes, you can shoot an email to the regulating body. Describe the situation, and you’ll get a response within a few weeks.
To sum it up, it’s worth noting that the gambling industry in Ireland has been developing for about 100 years now. Over this time, a slew of laws have been churned out, and a robust legal base has been formed, covering nearly all types of gambling. The operation of brick-and-mortar casinos and lotteries has been legit for quite some time, and recently, online casinos and bookies have also fully entered the white side.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are online casinos legal in Ireland?
Online casinos have been fully legal in Ireland since 2015. Local betting shops are regulated by the IRC body.
Is sports betting legal in Ireland?
Betting on various sports has been allowed since 1931. But the online format has only received regulation relatively recently.
Can I play poker in Ireland?
Yes, both offline and online. There are specialized clubs and poker rooms for this purpose.
Are there land-based casinos in Ireland?
There are, but formally the activity of casinos is prohibited. But there is a loophole in the law that allows you to open small “gaming clubs” (usually up to a few hundred machines and a few dozen tables).
Is cryptocurrency legal in Ireland?
Yes, cryptocurrency is completely legal in Ireland. And the government is not going to regulate or restrict it in any way.