Ireland Betting Sites

Ireland Betting SitesLocated in north-western Europe, Ireland boasts the fastest-growing economy in the EU with a GDP of $333 billion in 2017 alone. Gambling is one of the largest industries on the Emerald Isle where punters are estimated to collectively spend over €5 billion per year. As of 2017, the country is home to more than 850 bookmaking shops, with around 12% of the Irish population visiting their bookmakers on a weekly basis.

Ireland may not boast the fastest-growing gambling sector when compared to some other European countries, but has still registered significant growth rates over the past years. Sports betting is thriving in Ireland, especially online, with punters having round-the-clock access to a variety of web-based sportsbooks where they get to choose from hundreds of markets and are offered much better odds.

Ireland may be relatively small in terms of size but this does not prevent it from being home to some of the most notable sportsbook brands in the world, including the ever-popular Paddy Power.

Yet, as prevalent as sports betting in the country is, many of its residents are not sufficiently familiar with the legalities related to this sector of Ireland’s gambling industry. If you are willing to enrich your knowledge about the legal sports-betting landscape in Ireland, we suggest you read on for more detailed information on legalities. You will also learn what makes for a good Ireland-friendly online sportsbook.

Legality and Regulation of Sports Betting in Ireland

Legality and RegulationKeen sports betting fans from Ireland have nothing to fear where legalities are concerned. Both landbased and online punting on sporting events is legal and well-regulated in the country. This makes sense considering sports betting is the most popular form of wagering on the Emerald Isle.

Online and landbased bookmakers can accept punts from Irish bettors as long as they have acquired a valid license from local authorities. The sports betting sector falls under the regulations of the Irish Revenue Commissioners who are also responsible for license issuing.

Pari-mutuel wagering is regulated under the 1929 Totalisator Act but currently, there are only two license holders, Tote Ireland Limited (which is a subsidiary of the state-owned Horse Racing Ireland) and the semi-state Bord na gCon (responsible for the regulation and promotion of greyhound racing in the country).

Some of the biggest betting brands that have acquired Irish licenses include 888sport, Betfair, Betway, William Hill, Mr Green, and 32Red so the last thing Irish punters can complain of is lack of legal options.

Interestingly, the licensing process requires all applicants to first publish ads in the two national newspapers and provide certificates for personal fitness within a period of two weeks, counting from the day of the ads’ publication. Each remote betting operator must also obtain a tax number from the Revenue Commissioners and register with the Revenue Online Service.

All forms of sports betting are legal and regulated in Ireland. Landbased licensees should not allow loitering on the premises of their bookmaking shops and are prohibited from accepting wagers smaller than €0.06.

The Irish government plans to increase the taxes on licensees’ betting turnover from 1% to 2%, with the changes coming into effect in the beginning of 2019. Each sportsbook must pay an initial fee of €10,000 to receive its license. The fees for license renewal depend on the sports betting operator’s turnover and range between €10,000 and €500,000. The taxes for betting intermediaries, i.e. betting exchanges, have also increased from 15% to 25%. Irish punters themselves are not taxed on their sports betting winnings.

Sporting fans from the country are also not persecuted for wagering on unauthorized sports betting sites as far as we know, but few people would resort to this, granted the huge number of locally licensed sportsbooks they can pick from.

In accordance with Irish laws, sports betting and gambling debts are unenforceable. This applies to punters who seek payments as well as to bookmaking shops and online betting sites looking to collect their debts from customers. That being said, refusals of payments on behalf of remote betting operators significantly decrease their chances of gaining an Irish license under the 2015 Betting Amendment Act.

Key Sports Betting Laws

Key Sports Betting LawsBetting regulations have been an inseparable part of the Irish landscape ever since the mid 18th century when the Betting Act of 1853 was introduced. Bookmaking was already common at the time, with betting shops operating across all large Irish towns.

The broad availability of sports betting partially resulted from the passing of the 1845 Gaming Act. One of its provisions required bettors to provide the money for their wagers in advance as a guarantee. The prohibition of sweepstakes in 1845 is another factor that is believed to have influenced the popularity of sports betting across Ireland.

Bookmakers at the time would display placards with the races that were to be held during the day along with the odds for the different horses. They would take deposits from their punters and give them tickets that allowed them to collect their profits should their bets win.

The 1853 Betting Act was proposed by Attorney General Sir Alexander Cockburn and effectively prohibited the operation of bookmaking shops across the country. Penalties were imposed on those who failed to comply with the law. The prohibition proved ineffective. The only thing this ban did was drive bookmakers from their shops out to the streets, where they continued to accept wagers illegally.

This continued well into the 20th century until the enactment of the 1931 Betting Act which aimed at decriminalizing and regulating bookmaking activities in the Republic of Ireland. Under the provisions of this legislation, sports betting was now legal as long as the bookmakers obtain valid licenses from the local regulators.

The Betting Act of 1931 also imposed restrictions on the hours of operation of licensed landbased bookmaking shops. The latter were prohibited to accept punts before 9 am and after 6 pm. They were also expected to close shop on Sundays and during religious holidays, so punting on Christmas Day and Good Friday was not an option for bettors.

The certificates of licensed bookmaking shops must be on prominent display at all times so that customers can see them. Bookmaking shops were not allowed in the proximity of churches, schools, factories, or employment exchanges.

Also, bookmakers were not permitted to accept wagers under one shilling. Loitering or standing outside the premises of a bookmaking shop was prohibited under the provisions of the 1931 Betting Act. The Irish police officers had the right to fine violators or even arrest and imprison them for a month.

Only persons of legal gambling age (18 years old in Ireland) are allowed to enter and punt in bookmaking shops. Interestingly, punters were also held liable for violating the law. Underage persons who provide fake documents of identification risk convictions and fines.

However, the sports betting industry changed drastically over the span of the next eighty or so years, and these changes called for amendments in the outdated 1931 Betting Act. The most recent piece of legislation Irish lawmakers introduced came in the form of the Betting (Amendment) Act of 2015. It enabled local regulators to integrate remote sports betting activities into the existing licensing and taxation framework.

Remote sports betting in the country is legal under the provisions of the 2015 Act as long as the online operator has applied for and received a valid license from the Irish Revenue Commissioners. Those who knowingly accept punts from Irish bettors without a local license risk being fined and even imprisoned.

Note that pari-mutuel wagering falls under the provisions of a separate piece of legislation called the Horse and Greyhound Racing Act. It was approved in 2001 and resulted in the establishment of Horse Racing Ireland, an authority responsible for overseeing and promoting thoroughbred racing across the country.

The introduction of the above-mentioned legislation brought about the demise of the Irish Horse Racing Authority, which previously regulated race betting in Ireland. Presently, punters from the country can legally wager on races at both landbased and online sportsbooks as long as they operate under a valid domestic license.

Ireland Sporting Events Coverage and Markets

Sporting Events Coverage and MarketsSports betting ranks as the most common form of gambling among Irish residents, so it is not surprising online bookmakers cater to popular demand by offering punters from the country a diverse range of markets and wagering options. There is, of course, the option to bet on both pre-match and live games.

You can find bets for just about every market and sport imaginable but understandably, soccer is one of the most popular alternatives, with extensive coverage of events from the NIFL Premiership, the Premier League, the FA Cup, the English Championship, and the National League.

European soccer leagues are also readily available, with some of the most popular leagues being Serie A, La Liga, the Bundesliga, Ligue 1, Eredevisie, the Scottish Premiership, and Primeira Liga, among others. Irish punters can experiment with a great variety of bets including Both Teams to Score, Double Chance, Asian Handicaps, Over/Under, and Half Time.

Many international punters may not have a clue what Gaelic football is but this sport is a big deal all across Ireland. Deeply rooted in the country’s traditions, this is a fun sport with a unique goal-scoring system. Ireland-friendly bookmakers offer a variety of markets for Gaelic football and cover all sporting events from the Ireland Senior Championship and the four NFL Gaelic Football Divisions.

Having originated in Ireland, hurling is another sport that enjoys undying popularity among punters from the country, who can back their favorite teams online at very competitive odds. Horse racing is also deeply rooted in the history and traditions of Ireland, so it makes sense for Ireland-friendly sportsbooks to offer bettors a huge variety of markets for this exciting sport.

Usually, you have the option to wager on both flat and jumps horse racing. Bets are accepted on all races that take place on UK and Irish soil. In many cases, punters can also watch the races as they unfold via the sportsbooks’ live-streaming services. All the information about the animals and their performance in previous races is available at your fingertips, allowing you to make the best decisions with your bets.

Other popular sports with decent coverage at Ireland-friendly sports betting sites include golf, greyhound racing, tennis, cricket, mixed martial arts, basketball, boxing, ice hockey, and snooker.

But sportsbooks are not all about market diversity as important as it is. There are other criteria to consider when choosing a betting site, such as the presence of in-play betting, live streaming, a statistics section, intuitive interface, and tipping services.

Some of the biggest players on the Irish betting market like Betfair even offer betting exchanges where you can set your own prices on bets and sell them to other punters. Of course, you must always compare the odds offered by different online bookies in order to pick the website with the most competitive prices. Read on for more information on fractional odds, the default odds format at Ireland-friendly sportsbooks.

Popular Odds Format in Ireland

Popular Odds FormatFractional odds (also called traditional odds) are the preferred format Irish punters use when placing their wagers. These are normally written with a slash and resemble fractions but in reality, they are not really fractions. The first number before the slash shows you your expected return with a winning wager. The number after the slash shows you how many betting units of €1 you must stake to win this amount.

So let’s suppose you choose to back Custard the Dragon to win a Southwell horse race at odds of 12/1. If Custard wins the race, you will get €12 in exchange for the €1 you have initially staked. Note that this is not such a good bet because the higher the odds are, the smaller the chances of a win.

Sometimes you will come across odds that are seemingly written in reverse, like 2/7 where the value of the denominator of the “fraction” is larger than that of its numerator. This means you need to stake €7 to win only €2. The betting slips of most online bookies automatically calculate and display your potential returns on the basis of the wagered amount and the odds.

You can, however, easily calculate them yourself by using the following formula [{wager/denominator}* numerator] + wager. So if you back Custard the Dragon with a base bet of €20 at odds of 12/1, you will win [{€20/1}* 12] + €20 = €260.

Nice profit for an initial investment of €20 but let’s see what is the probability of Custard winning the race. As we forewarned you, his chances are rather slim – you calculate them by dividing the fraction’s denominator by the sum total of the numerator and denominator. From this it follows, the probability of Custard winning are 1/[12+1] = 1/13 = 0.0769 * 100 = 7.69%. Of course, if you do not feel confident enough using fractional odds, you can always tackle the odds’ settings and have them displayed in the decimal or the moneyline format.

Payment Solutions for Sports Bettors from Ireland

Payment SolutionsIrish punters are blessed with a regulated market that gives them a choice from a massive variety of sportsbooks. But how to pick the one that is right for you? One thing that bears consideration is the diversity of payment methods.

A good sportsbook would offer a versatile list of options to meet the needs of all Irish customers, starting with the always-present credit and debit cards by Visa, Maestro, and Mastercard. E-wallets like Skrill, ecoPayz, Neteller, and PayPal are also quite convenient and hassle-free to use and so are the prepaid solutions offered by Paysafecard and Entropay (which is a prepaid virtual Visa card you can use the same way as your plastic card). It should be noted deposits with e-wallets are sometimes excluded from bonuses so keep that in mind if you intend to opt in for such offers.

Online banking, wire transfers, and checks are also listed but if you are looking to punt with nominal amounts only, we suggest you use mobile-billing services like those provided by Boku where the deposit limits are much lower. Always ensure your sports betting operator of choice does not charge customers additionally on their payments.

The EUR, which is the currency Ireland uses as a member of the EU, is commonly available across sportsbooks friendly to Irish customers. All the online sportsbooks reviewed by Sportingpedia use reliable encryption technologies to mask punters’ payments and protect them from malicious attacks.

Bonuses and Rewards for Irish Sports Bettors

Bonuses and RewardsMost Ireland-friendly sportsbooks offer deposit bonuses as part of their welcome offers. You receive the bonus (usually in the form of a free bet) after you make a deposit and wager it on the website. You must also comply with the minimum odds requirements. Sometimes a valid promo code must be entered during or after the registration and deposit process.

Some websites might offer a bonus that comes as a deposit-match where the deposited sum is matched at a specific percentage with free monies. For instance, if you claim a 100% welcome bonus of up to €150 but deposit only €100, you will get €100 as a bonus on top of your initial deposit for a total of €200.

Note that different online bookies offer different welcome bonuses so we recommend you compile a list with the websites with the best offers and pick from them. It goes without saying that the terms and conditions of the bonuses must be read in advance as this gives you a better idea of whether an offer is worth it or not. Regular customers are treated to loyalty points they can convert into cash or free bets as well as to enhanced odds and cashbacks.

Customer Support at Ireland Sports Betting Sites

Customer SupportMany punters underestimate the importance of a decent support service until they end up experiencing an issue no one is there to assist them with. It is always a good idea to test the quality of the sportsbooks’ support service yourself but unfortunately, some betting sites allow you to use their live chat features only after you go through a successful registration process.

A good Ireland-friendly betting site would offer a round-the-clock service by highly professional support advisors whose vast competence helps them assist you with an array of issues. Some of the best sports betting operators would train their support staff precisely for this purpose.

Support is usually available in English along with some other languages like French, German, Italian, and Spanish. We recommend you pick a sportsbook with a 24/7 live-chat facility to ensure there will always be someone to help you. Other commonly available methods of communication include contact forms, email, and telephone, with most Ireland-friendly betting sites servicing callers from the country at no additional cost.