The luck of the Irish might be the reason why gambling is such a popular pastime in Ireland.
To understand just how popular it is, consider that the gaming authorities issue 32 new licenses for gaming machines every year for the past two years. The laws of the country are very relaxed, with casinos, sports betting, poker, bingo, and online slots all being opportunities for people to enjoy making a wager.
The National Approach
Though the national government leaves granting gaming licenses to the local governing agencies, the national economy receives a huge boost from the industry. Even though operators might be facing some tougher regulations in the near future, the taxes that the gambling operations pay (recently moved from 1% to 2%) is a large source of national revenue. It has also created jobs for the country. According to the data, the gambling market brings is worth an estimated 1.1 billion euros each year. Approximately 134 million euros come from gaming machines, 65 million from private clubs and casinos, 315 million from land-based betting, 65 million from bingo, and 310 million from lotteries.
In 2015, the government legalized online gambling, a factor that has significantly contributed to the growth of the industry in Ireland. A safe guesstimate is that online gambling alone sees about 220 million euros spent each year. The Irish government is able to use taxation to reap the benefits of a robust, nationally-favored industry, but some businesses are looking into new ways to get in on the action. Even though it seems that the growing Irish betting trends are to engage in online wagering, the popularity of the industry has many bars turning into amusement arcades to increase both traffic and profit. There is more income potential for the online operators over the land-based activities, but either option brings more money to the Irish economy. Ireland has one of the fastest-growing economies in Europe, growing six times faster than its counterparts.
The Perks of Irish Gaming
Overall, the UK is much more liberal in its approach to gambling, though showing a more clearly relaxed approach with online gambling. The Irish people and bookies more quickly adopted and released online gaming sites, far outpacing the United States that recently legalized online gaming. Even though there are over 40,000 locations in Irish where the slots can be played, a number of online slots have opened and received just as much attention. One favored online slot site is Wizards Slots, which receives more activity than any other Irish site. However, the Irish market has several common household names on the gaming industry, with Paddy Power and Betfair being some of the most popular sites that accept Irish players. Betfair operates with a distinctly Irish theme that is easily recognized in their social media accounts, branding, and marketing campaigns. Popular Irish-themed slot operations are Irish Clover, Irish Frenzy, and Irish Riches.
Some prefer the old fashioned feel of the table, but in the absence of a local gaming room, the Irish can go online to play live table games. Through a setup that feels like sitting at a table in a casino, the Irish can try their hands at Roulette, Blackjack, and poker. Online operators also offer bingo, and for the sporting enthusiast, Paddy Power also offers fantasy sports betting. There is something for everyone in Ireland, as there are also online options for betting on political events.
The Blind Love of the Gamble
There is no doubt that the Irish love a good gamble. Though historians can trace betting practices back as early as the 15th century, the first legislation wasn’t passed until 1926, just four years after the country became a free state. In 1988, three bookmakers partnered together to form Paddy Power. The organization has grown to over 600 shops across Ireland and the UK, and when their online presence became live in 2000, it became a gambling powerhouse. Not only does the revenue generated from the operations help the country financially, but they also have more than 1,700 employees running their operations. However, if you take a good look at the statistics, the Irish aren’t that lucky when it comes to gambling. For this reason, perhaps their love is blind. One of the latest reports showed that the Irish were the third biggest losers in the world in the gambling arena, with an average loss of 470 euros per adult. More disconcerting is the rising number of problem gambling statistics, jumping from a 7% increase in adults suffering from a gambling addiction to 9.5% in 2017. Not all of these losses are because of a bad wager. Since there is an open policy with online gaming, many Irish lose their money at a bad betting site, falling into the trap of an illegitimate bookmaker.
For some Irish, the love for the gambling industry goes far deeper than just a good and successful wager. The gambling industry has become a part of Irish culture that financially supports its healthy economy and creates jobs and entertainment for millions.