Gambling's history in Ireland - from bookie shops to casinos on smartphones.
With the national interest in greyhounds and horse racing, Ireland has always been fond of sports betting, and the history of gambling in Ireland goes back a long way. Sports betting shops were popular with Irish punters and gambling in general began to develop, and casino games grew in popularity.
In 1931, gambling in Ireland came under regulation with the Betting Act, then later with additional laws in the Gaming and Lotteries Act in 1956.
Today, gambling and online gaming sees a healthy public in Ireland. Irish players are most familiar with Paddy Power, the Irish sportsbooker and casino. Formed in 1988, when three Irish bookmakers merged their 40 shops together, Paddy Power has since expanded impressively and now operates in the UK as well as Ireland, with online services such as poker, bingo, casino games, spread betting – and of course their flagship sportsbetting. Many enjoy the club-like atmosphere, mingling with others with similar interests familiar and the general socializing in bookie shops and casinos. And since 2001, there has also been the Irish Winter Festival of Poker, which includes a Texas Hold’em tournament and an Irish Masters event, and was part of the European Poker Tour. The event typically takes place over the bank holiday weekend in October.
And while casinos proper are not allowed, Ireland has a long history of private gaming clubs where one could enjoy card games, table games or pongo. In addition to the thrill of these games, the clubs were also well loved for their social vibrancy. Today with the prevalence of the internet, a lot of players have moved the playing to their comfort of their own home, although the clubs and bookie shops continue to be very popular.
With the exponential development of the internet, online gaming has become the norm. After consulting other countries’ experience with online gambling and gaming, the Irish Casino Committee released a report in 2008 that stated online gaming in Ireland is legal. This forward thinking move demonstrated Ireland’s clear understanding in how technology and gaming operates in an international space.
Since its growth on the internet, online gambling has witnessed some major innovations – today, many casinos work with worldwide stock exchanges so that players can make bets on stock exchange movements. This is usually referred to as “financials” in online casinos and many players enjoy placing their bets on real world movements that can be studied.
The advent of mobile and smartphones also impacted the gaming world in the last years. Being at the forefront of technological adaptations, many Irish players quickly took to mobile gambling. In general, the mobility and convenience to communicate and play anywhere at any time appealed to many people, and online casinos invested heavily in developing mobile platforms to remain relevant. Savvy players often look for the special promotions casinos offered to mobile players to attract them to their new platform.
Gaming and gambling has been growing with the times, and it is widely enjoyed for the exhilaration it provides as an entertainment. Thanks to the internet, many people appreciate gaming and gambling from the comfort of home in a relaxed atmosphere.