Irish Gambling and Its Evolution

Ireland has had gambling as part of its culture for centuries. It is intricately woven into their lifestyle and is now a part of the identity of the Irish. Even now, gambling stands out as a passion among the residents of this country. 

Did you know that around 70% of residents above the age of 35 indulge in the best betting sites Ireland has to offer t? In Ireland, there are three forms of gambling that have gained massive popularity. These include horse racing, lottery, and sports, and events betting. Moreover, the city also has multiple land-based and online casinos. 

The ancient history of gambling 

Gambling activities pre-dates to the pre-Roman time period of what is now modern Ireland. The native tribes engaged in various gambling activities as per evidence unlocked. At that time, items such as glass beads and dice were used for the purpose of gambling. Such a trend continued until the 3rd century AD when the Romans arrived. With their arrival came the chariot racing events. This served as a mode of entertainment for the people at that time. 

Though horse racing is now an integral part of the Irish culture, its origin can be traced back to the early parts of the 16th century. It is during this time period that horse racing came into existence. Now, it is a widely popular event to bet on in Ireland. With no laws or regulations to oversee gambling, Ireland soon developed it as their culture. 

The effect of the English rule

Ireland became a colony of the British following the invasion of the Anglo-Norman army in the year 1169. For more than seven centuries, there was British influence in Ireland. During this time, horse racing became even more popular. Moreover, the English rule did not prohibit gambling in any form. That is the primary reason why gambling began to grow unchecked in Ireland. 

However, the Street Betting Act came into existence in 1906. With this act, betting with cash on any activities was banned. But, with years, the government realized that the law would not be upheld. It led to the creation and passage of the Betting Act of 1926. 

The Betting Act of 1926

The agreement of the Anglo-Irish Treaty led to the development of the Irish Free State. The treaty was signed on 6th December 1921, and Ireland became an independent nation on 6th December 1922. The Betting Act of 1926 was a legal step to regulate betting in the country. 

With this act, the government made cash betting legal in Ireland. Moreover, it also led to the formation of licensed and regulated betting establishments in the county. It was an effort to eliminate unsavory or illegal bookmaking practices. 

After that, the Betting Act of 1931 was passed, which enforced better regulation of the bookmakers involved in the industry. With this Act came some amendments. Before that, the Totalisator Act 1929 was passed. This act legalizes the formation and regulation of the Totalisator via the Irish Revenue Commissioners. 

The Lotteries and Gaming Act of 1956

In 1956, the Lotteries and Gaming Act was made legal in Ireland. It was adopted to ensure proper regulation of casinos and lotteries. As per this law, there was a prohibition on casinos. In fact, lotteries could only work if they would do so for charitable purposes. 

The law was met with much skepticism. However, soon the Irish people found a loophole. They started visiting private clubs that organized gambling activities and operated as casinos secretly. Though unofficial, there was no law that could close down these establishments. 

Though the Lotteries and Gaming Act applies to different gaming forms, it doesn’t form any provision for online gambling events. 

The 2013 Gambling Control Bill

The wide popularity of the Internet forced the Irish government to update the Lotteries and Gaming Act. With the advent of online gambling, the previous game needed some severe changes. That led to the passage of the Gaming Control Bill of 2013. With this, land-based casinos became legal again. However, there were some regulations. 

For instance, the country issues only a mere 40 licenses. Moreover, the venues were limited to having only 15 tables. It was enacted with the intent to prevent Ireland from becoming the next Las Vegas. 

Another act that was passed in 2013 was the National Lottery Act. This repealed the previous National Lottery Act 1986. The most striking feature of the National Lottery Act of 2013 was the establishment of the Regulator of the National Lottery. It was done to oversee the propriety of the Irish National Lottery. 

The Betting Amendment Bill of 2015 

The Betting Amendment Bill of 2015 brought a revolution to the gambling market in Ireland. With this Act, remote betting exchanges and online betting providers fell under the licensing regime. Now, the rules that apply to the land-based betting shops apply to the online bookmakers too. 

The mobile and online betting providers would now get the 1 percent turnover as well. However, it also limited the extension of remote betting for land-based bookmakers. With time, more changes will be needed for the profitable existence of the gambling market. 

The present state of Irish gambling

The rise of the gambling industry in Ireland is massive. As per a study done in June of 2019, it was concluded that the gambling industry in Ireland generates annual revenue of around €100 million in taxes. Moreover, the annual valuation of the market is between €6 billion -€8 billion. It is without a doubt that with years, the market is going to expand even more. 

With the establishment of a gambling regulatory body, the government intends to oversee the gambling industry. The independent body is under the Department of Justice’s jurisdiction. It has a very specific purpose of tackling the regulatory and licensing problems of the gambling market. 

However, for the industry to thrive, amendments to the age-old legislation need to be done. It is vital to note that at the time the Betting Act or the Gaming and Lotteries Act came into existence, online gambling was not on the horizon. 

Why You Should Bet on Sports
Why You Should Bet on Sports
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