Brief Overview of the Gambling Industry in Ireland

Gambling has been around in one form or another in Ireland since the Middle Ages, when bets were placed on stick-ball games or the board game Fidchell. During the 16th and 17th centuries, gambling exploded around the Emerald Isle. The reasons for the increase in gambling around Ireland was due in part to horse racing being recognized as an official sport and alcohol consumption on the rise and available in public houses.

Take into account that back then, the governing of Ireland was left to landlords, and they did little if anything to regulate gambling activities.

The Introduction of Betting Legalization

After a three-year civil war, Ireland was free from Britain rule in 1922, and with the Irish Free State now established, now the government controlled the power to regulate the growing gambling industry. The Betting Act 1926 was the first legislation to then regulate gambling throughout Ireland, aimed at addressing unregulated horse racing industry. The act stipulated anyone caught taking bets on any sporting events would now need government-issued licensees.

This act was repealed five years later by the Betting Act 1931. The updated act would relax certain prohibitions on aspects of commercial betting.

The Betting Amendment Act of 2015

The original Betting Act of 1931 has undergone many updates since its start over 90 years ago, but the most significant came recently with the Betting Amendment Act of 2015. Online casinos and remote gambling throughout Ireland were legalized for the first time in the country's history.

The amended act allowed all remote betting agencies and bookmakers taking bets from clients based in Ireland to obtain licensing before they can accept wagers.

Intro to the Gaming Legislation

The Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1956 prohibited casinos across the country but lotteries were permitted to a limited extent. In order to be legal, lotteries needed to hold a specific license, have smaller prizes, and be carried out with the purpose of philanthropy or fundraising for charities.

End of an Era for Underground Gambling

A unique loophole in the 1956 Act allowed to the establishment of some exclusive clubs that offered varied gambling services under the provision card-playing was in fact legal in these private dwelling. The unregulated clubs were, in a sense, casinos hiding in plain sight, offering blackjack, slot machines, and more. These clubs eventually would lose favor with Irish gamblers would couldn't legally collect big prizes.

The Gambling Control Bill

Reviews of the act were considered in 2008, so in 2013, Parliament surprisingly passed the country's Gambling Control Bill, and new regulatory framework for any gambling in the country was now on paper. The Bill was set to replace existing legislation, and that included the Betting Act of 1931 and Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1956. Now online betting agencies can operate legally in Ireland, but only 40 permits are being permitted at one time.

What Does 2018 Have in Store for Ireland?

The Gambling Control Bill has been in effect five years, but the full effect has not been seen yet. A new version of the Bill is currently set to be released by December. Either way, the gambling future for Ireland looks extremely bright.

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