Where to bet safely in Ireland and which betting companies offer the best conditions to the online customers. Take a look at our chart below and find the answers to these questions.
Best Bookmakers in Ireland
Despite being home to one of the industry’s largest and oldest bookmakers, Ireland’s local market also has, due to its extremely active punter base and international appeal, attracted some of the industry’s top sportsbetting entertainment brands. This combined with the favourable attitudes of local lawmakers places local punters in a most advantageous position where they have access to the greatest selection of sports, featuring the widest range of betting markets, and options at the best prices and great odds. We expand and detail some of their virtues in our scribblings below.
Surprisingly, for such a relatively youthful company, Leo Vegas established in Sweden, already gained great traction amongst international punters not only due to offering one of the widest selections of sports but also due to their exceptionally favourable odds and good standards of customer service. Furthermore, its high-end sportsbook product comes fully backed by a comprehensive range of betting tools and a nice selection of promotions.
- Superb casino
- Many free spins bonuses
- Generous welcome offers
- Regular promos for registered players
- Good sportsbook
- Possible players’ limitations
Bet365 is the acknowledged and pretty-much undisputed world leader in the online sportsbetting arena and has managed not only to retain this prestigious position but also received industry and public accolades for further improving and refining its product in many different aspects. Also, Bet365 has exceptional mobile applications, and the brand’s customers can enjoy all the betting options by just using their phones. Excelling not just in one or two sections but overall the brand managed to escalate the online sportsbetting experience to a completely new level for all their members, which in this competitive industry means other brands will soon follow in their footsteps improving sportsbetting entertainment for the industry and betting public as a whole.
- Leading betting brand worldwide
- Excellent betting features
- Superb casino games
- Secure platform
- Many customer restrictions
- Slow support
This Brand is synonymous with betting in Ireland and by establishing its online presence expanded its footprint far beyond the borders of the ROI & UK. A few years ago Ladbrokes has merged with Coral. The subsequent purchase of GVC Holdings allowed the once family-run company to co-mingle with the brands known as the principal forerunners in the global bookmaking & sportsbetting industry.
- Great history and reputation
- Many brick-and-mortar betting shops
- Combined bonus program
- Excellent sportsbook
- Outdated design
- Limited payment options
William Hill acknowledged as the leading bookmaking brand in the UK and once the globe, remained in constant operation since first opening its illustrious doors in 1934. That makes it one of the oldest and most stable bookmakers in the world. The company entered the online market bringing with it the familiarity and prestige associated with one of the UK’s trusted brands in sportsbetting. There is no doubt that William Hill has become an acknowledged household name in the UK sportsbetting arena.
- Excellent horse racing section
- Superb odds, bonuses & features for horse racings
- Great Vegas section
- Reliable support
- Limited payment options
It’s safe to say that each and every bettor in the world has heard the brand Betfair at least once. The operator’s history is quite inspiring. This online brand is well-known among Irish players for aggregating the world’s largest online bet exchange. It originally focused on achieving success in the UK market, has since grown far past these original goals to become one of the acknowledged major international players in the online sportsbook arena.
- Leading brand
- Excellent betting exchange
- Good odds in the sportsbook
- Great in-plat section
- Best betting features
- Improvement of the customer support is needed
Betway is among the most popular brands worldwide. Foud in 2006 in the UK, this operator is now acknowledged as one of the all-time favourites of sports fans. It offers a superb betting environment, high odds and a nice variety of free bet options. After joining Betway, Irish players would gain access to horse racing, greyhounds bets and live streaming to them. In addition to the sportsbook, casino and vegas sections await all the customers who need to diversify their play.
- Excellent reputation
- Regular free bets offers
- Great sportsbook
- Excellent horse racing section
- Useful betting options
- A bit low odds
MrGreen is a Swedish brand which gains huge popularity in Ireland because of its superb horse racing section. However, players later discovered that MrGreen is a suitable place not only for sports betting but for casino games, as well. This platform offers a variety of casino entertainments, including jackpots, VIP games and some rare slot titles.
- Licensed to operate in Ireland
- Excellent odds
- Superb casino
- Great customer support
- Nice design
- Just a few promotions
Found in 1996 in the UK, 888Sport is a popular brand in Europe. The main reason behind its success is that it combines sportsbook, casino and poker rooms at once. The complex betting experience provided by 888Sport, 888Casino and 888Poker is what makes this brand a leader in the market. 888Sport stands out among its competitors because it’s keen on innovations and struggles to offer a superb gaming environment.
- Great design
- Impeccable reputation
- Additional betting sections
- Top-notch casino providers
- Good odds
- Great betting features
- Just a few promotions
- No bonuses for horse racing bets
Why Online Betting Became Hugely Popular in Ireland
As a nation, the Irish are widely known for having a great sense of humour that adds to their big-hearted jovial nature. The world commonly associates many positive things with the Irish, like the three leaves of a shamrock representing faith, love, and hope. Should that shamrock have four leaves, as many know, it then represents luck.
We also associate many iconic symbols from Irish culture with luck, horseshoes, leprechauns, and of course, the colour green, which is entirely synonymous with the emerald Ilse. Similarly, most people have heard the term “Luck of the Irish”, but curiously the condition does not originate from Ireland. It originates from miners during the US 19th century Gold Rush period when many poor Irish emigrants tried their luck mining for gold and subsequently struck it rich. This gave rise to the coining of the term since Irish emigrants made up the majority of these early miners.
Besides, the Irish have over the ages embraced gambling, and as such, it became an ingrained part of Irish culture. In fact, to the extent that one would be hard-pressed finding an Irishman who does not partake in the occasional flutter or without a reasonably workable knowledge and understanding of betting and odds.
Punters from the emerald isle also gained themselves a reputation as shrewd, knowledgeable, well-informed bettors. This is also one of the reasons why, despite its relatively small population, some of the world’s top bookmaking brands originate from Ireland and have managed to build themselves a notably strong online presence in the industry.
Gambling Facts at a Glance
The Irish pound (IEP) (IE£) served as Ireland’s currency in various formats from 1997 until the 1st of January 1999. At that time, Ireland adopted the euro as its official currency. However, euros only became available at the start of 2002.
According to the UN’s latest estimates the Republic of Ireland’s population of 4.85 million ranks it as the 125th most populous country in the world, while Northern Ireland adds another 1.85 million people to bring the Island of Ireland’s population total to 6.7 million.
Approximately 66% of Ireland’s adults over the age of 18 gamble regularly, bringing the country’s total number of active gamblers to just over 3 million people.
While Ireland currently has no appointed regulatory authority per se Irish revenue Commissioners actively regulate the off and online betting market. Their duties include all aspects of applying the law. The appropriate tax remittances are made and ensure all required licences and procedures are met and remain in place.
Licensed gambling products
The Irish legal system regulating gambling provides for licencing of the following products:
Despite 14 member-club type casinos operating in the country, its laws make no provision for licencing casinos of any type.
Types of operators
The various betting acts implemented between 1931 & 2015 makes provision for issuing licences for operating a bookmaking business, both online licenced betting sites and land-based varieties as well betting intermediaries. Similarly, the Totalisator Act of 1929 still provides the main structure for licencing pari-mutuel or tote betting.
The National Lottery Act of 2013 allows for the licencing the local National Lottery operations, while smaller remain under the regulatory controls imposed by the G&L Acts.
The landscape that formed Ireland’s regulated gambling industry made its first appearance during the mid-19th century with the Betting Act of 1854. Improved and modernised via the Betting Act of 1931, which regulated all forms of sportsbetting until 2015, when the Betting (Amendment) Act updated the law enabling it to remain relevant to more modern forms of bookmaking, including offshore online operations and licencing.
It has since these early formative years slowly evolved into the modernised regulatory structures we see today. In recent times Irish lawmakers applied themselves to raise the standard of the local regulatory system to remain on par with developments in the global gambling industry.
While the system may not yet have attained perfection, it has continued to improve. Its changes are clearly in line with the country’s pursuit to establish itself as a notable presence in the global gaming industry.
Before 1956, Ireland’s gambling industry went about its business without too much regulatory oversight. However, it finally provided for casino gambling regulation via the Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1956, which served to prohibit commercial casinos from entering Ireland. However, a loophole allowed innovative operators to establish members-only clubs for gambling, which the law did not prohibit. These primarily serve as mini-casinos that offer a variety of casino activities and games, including traditional casino table games, video poker, and slots amongst a variety of others.
By 2003, Irish law integrated online gambling with the issuing of 229 local licences to the remote operator. This made is it legal for Ireland’s citizens to enjoy themselves at any licenced remotely operated offshore, or local casino and sportsbook venue.
With Ireland’s gambling laws aligning the country to establish itself amongst the foremost gambling countries in the world, very few of the best bookmakers impose any form of restrictions on punters hailing from the emerald isle. That is aside from the expected legal issues such as a failure to comply with local licencing requirements, regional politics, and financial factors such as a lack of suitable banking methods.
How to Choose the Right Online Betting Site
Savvy Irish punters who are on the lookout for new betting sites and Irish horse racing betting sites and want to experience what the world’s best betting platforms have to offer should keep in mind that the internet still holds many potential dangers. As such, they should consider adding the following important factors to their list of prerequisites prospective new online bookmakers must meet to qualify for their final consideration. These factors will aid them in avoiding most of the pitfalls associated with joining a new online entertainment venue.
- Does your preferred list of online bookmakers all possess an unshakable reputation for fairness, safety while gaming, and feature an industry-standard level of security for the protection of customer personal and financial data?
- Does your list of most popular bookmakers all hold a valid licence from an internationally recognised regulatory authority like the MGA? If so, are they certified by an industry approved independent auditing firms such as eCOGRA or BMM Test Labs?
- Do they offer an extensive range of banking methods and a 24/7 customer support live chat function on-site?
- How comprehensive is their range of betting products? Do they feature essential options such as live-streamed video feeds of events, a strategic Cash out option, a bet builder and bet editor?
- Are their prices and offered odds competitive with those from other top end brands, how large are their featured range of betting markets and sports types?
Bonuses for Irish Players
The proverbial luck of the Irish seemingly plays a major role if one considers the massive variety of bonuses players from Ireland have available to them. The range of bonuses not only includes some of the best promotional bonuses and special offers from several of the online world’s most famous brands but also encompasses a complete spectrum of online sportsbook activities aimed at extending and expanding the budgets and playtime of punters and players at all experience levels.
Irish players can avail themselves of numerous welcoming first bet and first deposit percentage matching sign-up offers paid as Free Bets, as well as money back as a Free Bets on lost first bets. Similarly, the entertainment extenders available to existing players incorporate the whole smorgasbord of innovative sportsbook and casino offers, mostly paid as Free Bets with a few settled in Cash. The range includes daily, weekly, and monthly offers of improved pricing, special odds, enhanced ACCAS, boosted price clubs every week and many, many more.
Most Popular Sports to Bet on in Ireland
Curiously the popular sports types in Ireland’s betting market has very little in common with the UK, its closest neighbour. Other than the commonly shared interest in a massive football market, other locally popular sports types include Ireland’s other most popular betting sports horse racing, followed by:
- Gaelic Football
Are Online Casinos Popular in Ireland?
In the Irish culture, all forms of wagering entertainment enjoy a position close to the heart of most Irishmen, including casinos. To that extent, upon the enactment of a law banning commercial casinos, entrepreneurial businesspeople took an innovative approach exposing a loophole in the law. It allowed them to establish so-called members-only gambling clubs which the law did not ban and still allowed locals to continue gambling as before.
In the modern era of online gambling, there has been a noticeable upturn in the fervour with which Irish nationals enjoyed their freedom to engage in their favourite activity at any of the world’s most popular leading casino brands. This is apparent when one considers that the Irish, despite their gambling-friendly law-set, spend an estimated $140 million at unlicensed online casinos each year!
Trivia/Did you know that…
- Ladbrokes, founded in Ireland during 1902, is the oldest bookmaker still operating in the world today
- based on turnover alone, Ladbrokes-Coral plc is the largest retail bookmaker in Europe and arguably the world
- Ireland sees a gambling turnover of approximately €10,000 per minute each day
- Irish Greyhound ante-post bets remain subject to a maximum payout limit of £50,000
- one of the most significant betting victories in Irish horseracing saw legendary gambler Barnet Curley co-ordinate Irish punters to take advantage of the under-handicapped Yellow Sam allowing them to scoop £1.7 million in winnings
- 229 of the world’s online sportsbooks currently offer their services in Ireland
Available Mobile Apps
The benefits available to players and punters from Ireland is similarly impressive since the country’s online mobile entertainment options retain the same level of incredible service the world’s leading brands deliver in all their other fields to Ireland. Mobile users in Ireland have access to numerous of the online gambling entertainment industry’s very best mobile access solutions for sportsbetting and casino gaming purposes.
All the Irish facing brands in our earlier discussion offer an unmatched user-sportsbetting experience that encompasses all the sports markets, betting options, promotional benefits, banking options, and many other features essential to a successful online sportsbook or casino. Many still offer lightning-fast dedicated mobile apps for both the iOS and Android software environments, while all offer access via quality fully cross-platform compatible mobile portals/virtual versions dedicated to delivering an outstanding sportsbook experience fully optimised for use on the smaller touchscreens of mobile smart devices.
Supported Payment Methods
Ireland’s licenced online sportsbook/casinos all feature an extensive list of internationally trusted and recognised banking methods and financing options from a group of banking brands used across the world on a daily basis. The range of available banking options includes credit/debit card facilities from Visa, Mastercard, Maestro debit and Visa Electron, while the safety of indirect payments come from the likes of PayPal and POLi, with the financing options further expanded by e-Wallets such as Skrill or Neteller, various forms of Bank Wire, Cheque services, electronic payments, and cryptocurrencies.
The Irish state taxes gambling by way of excise duties imposed on the turnover of bookmakers and does not consider winnings as a form of personal income. Essentially this means winnings derived from sportsbetting or casino wagering activities remain entirely tax-free.
Why would an online bookmaker in Ireland offer me a Free Bet for merely signing up, what’s the catch?
Other than imposing the occasional wagering requirement, there is no catch. Online sportsbooks suffer from a complete lack of exposure if they don’t advertise due to punters not knowing they even exist. At the same time, they also have exceptionally low overhead costs when compared to a land-based operator. This means they have substantial advertising budgets, which they then use to attract your attention by offering you free money in the form of Free Bets.
What is a Wagering Requirement? Are there any specific limits for Irish players?
A wagering requirement is a rule that an online casino or sportsbook will require you to meet if you choose to accept a free money promotional offer. It simply serves to ensure you continue playing on their site and not just take the money and run. Whenever you meet the wagering requirement the free money and all winnings derived from it then becomes yours to keep. The terms and conditions for the Irish players can be found on the bookie’s website.
How much tax must all licensed online bookmakers pay in Ireland?
The Irish government imposes a 1% excise duty on all bookmaking gambling revenues.
What is the safest payment method to deposit and draw money in Ireland from my online sportsbook account?
While each method offers certain benefits in its own right, no punter should ever consider anyone method as a fix-all solution. Internationally popular credit card brands offer the fastest transaction periods and more widely accepted but is not as secure any low risk as a reliable indirect payment method or bank transfer, and so forth!
How do I know if a bonus is valuable?
Aside from immoral unlicensed operators, all bonuses offered by respected sportsbooks hold real value. They are aimed at attracting you and convincing you to establish a long future relationship, and they realise most people won’t do that if they feel cheated or unfairly treated.
Can I use more than one payment method to fund my sportsbook account?
Yes, in fact, most of the leading online sportsbooks actually prefer it and encourage you to use as many as you wish.
Can I play or wager at an online gambling site without having to verify my account?
Yes, such sites do exist but are considered illegal by Irish law!
Considering the current law set and recently proposed changes in Ireland’s law responsible for regulating gambling within its borders, we must consider Ireland’s online gamblers as some of the luckiest in the world. However, compared to the attitudes still prevalent in many other countries within the EU, Ireland’s mature and positive approach to gambling regulation within its borders have done the country and its people far better. It allowed its residents the protection and support from the state they deserve. Besides, it allowed people to enjoy free and easy access to many of the industry’s best and most tightly regulated brands. This again protects its people from attempting to try their luck at some morally questionable sites, and ultimately was designed for the good of the people.