Ireland Online Casinos
Ireland’s Gambling Laws
Online gambling in Ireland is regulated by the Betting Act of 1931 and the Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1956, which many consider rather arcane. The reason these regulations are widely perceived as confusing can be traced to the reforms that have taken place in the last decade. The restructuring of the gaming regulatory systems may not always be as successful as intended, but the modifications are a great testament of the government’s commitment to creating a flawless (or, at least an optimal) and firmly controlled market that will protect the general public and the service providers.
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With the evolution of technology, the legislatures around the world are facing a pressing need to update the current laws that have no adequate definitions and guidelines related to internet gambling. Fortunately, Ireland was quick to respond to the demands of the gambling modernization, embracing online gambling early on, and introducing the Betting (Amendment) Act of 2015, which requires all online operators (both local and the ones based outside the country) to acquire a state-issued licence. Thanks to the initial effort, Ireland is now able to compete in one of the top-grossing industries in the world.
Still, the status of land-based gambling is yet to be fully outlined by the legislators, as the Gaming and Lottery Act of 1956 banned commercial casinos, which managed to survive thanks to the legal loopholes. Several operators have used the legal gaps to their advantage, offering gambling service without suffering any repercussions from the long arm of the law. At the same time, internet gambling regulations were straightforward from the get-go which allowed the Irish to fully explore the growing potential of the international gambling industry.
Software Developers Powering Ireland-Oriented Online Casinos
Despite the favourable gambling climate, online casinos available to the players in Ireland are running on gaming software supplied by gaming companies from the UK and other international locations. At the moment, Blueprint Gaming, Big Time Gaming, and Playtech games seem to prevail across online casinos that target paddies.
Blueprint Gaming was founded in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2001, and transferred to the UK a few years later. The company is a part of the Gauselmann Group and operates under the UK Gambling Commission, Alderney Gambling Control Commission, and Malta Gaming
Authority licences. Blueprint’s gaming content developed for online markets (the company also produces gaming cabinets) is often a result of collaborative projects with other developers, such as Big Time Gaming (BTG); in 2018, the two have signed a deal which grants Blueprint with the rights to use BTG’s patented MEGAWAYS structure.
In February 2019, Blueprint’s Jackpot King Deluxe slot network suddenly soared in popularity among the Irish players, when a 33-year-old chef from Northern Ireland won £4.3M playing Mars Attack in Paddy Power casino.
Big Time Gaming (BTG) is a Sydney-based gaming company that was formed in 2011, quickly breaking into global markets. BTG introduced the above-mentioned MEGAWAYS concept in 2016, with the launch of Dragon Born. The fluctuating system of paylines was a massive success and other companies purchased the patent from BTG. 2018 was one of the developer’s most productive years, during which BTG landed several partnerships and launched the high-profile Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? slot.
Playtech – gambling industry conglomerate founded in 1999, Playtech employs over 5,000 people and holds more than 100 global licences. Apart from slots, Playtech also develops a full spectrum of online games and streams live dealer tables from a studio in Riga. One of Ireland’s most popular online casinos, Paddy Power, runs on Playtech software.
Top Gaming Choices in Irish-Oriented Online Casinos
Over the years, Paddies have demonstrated an impressive aptitude for all forms of gambling, including horseracing and lottery. However, the following games and their variants seem to be the preferred choices among the residents of the Emerald Isle.
Poker – video poker and Texas Hold’em, although the latter seems to have a slight advantage.
Casino Hold’em is not far behind.
Bingo – in the recent few years, bingo is taking international markets by storm. The popularity of bingo in the UK and Republic of Ireland has never dropped, but it is safe to say that the game was revived with the rise of online casinos and bingo sites.
Table Games – live and RNG roulette, baccarat, blackjack, and, to a lesser extent, craps.
Sports Betting – bookmaking has a long history in Ireland and is one of the first regulated forms of gambling (outlined by the 1926 Betting Act that was revised in 1931).
Popular Payment Methods in Online Casinos for Irish Players
Typically, players in Ireland will use Visa and MasterCard to fund their online casino cashiers, while other popular methods include Maestro and SEPA. Alternative methods do exist, but combined, Visa and MasterCard hold around 82% of the market.
SEPA, short for Single Euro Payments Area is a system that enables service providers and online merchants to receive euro payments in more than 30 territories across the globe. SEPA users are not required to have a payment card – instead, the payments are pulled directly from one’s bank account. There are several SEPA payment instruments: SEPA Direct Debit, SEPA Credit Transfer, SEPA Business-to-Business Direct Debit Scheme, etc.
Visa – Visa cards holders will not have to worry about declined transactions when depositing at the online casinos that target Irish players. Apart from being one of the payment methods with the widest global coverage, Visa is particularly popular in Ireland, where the holders use it to fund virtually everything – from everyday goods and services to online casino deposits.
MasterCard – just as popular as Visa, MasterCard has a somewhat wider coverage (around 210 as opposed to Visa’s 170 locations). For the Irish, however, the difference is imperceptible, and if an online casino accepts Visa, MasterCard will be on the list of accepted methods as well.
Ireland Online Casino Bonuses
The range of promotions available at online casinos that accept players from Ireland can be quite impressive. The first bonus can sometimes be claimed immediately after the registration process is completed (the no-deposit free spins or a modest €5 – €10 bonus cash) while more generous incentives await for those who submit their first deposits.
Welcome Offer – claimed at sign-up, the welcome bonus can sometimes be limited to members who fund their casino account via credit/debit cards. The bonus cash (usually 100% of the deposit) is frequently bundled up with free spins and comes with wagering
requirements (the total amount that has to be wagered before a withdrawal is approved).
Free Spins – awarded as a part of the sign-up welcome bonus or through ongoing and short-terms promotions (for example, slot races)
Cashback – a percentage of the player’s total bets that the casino refunds at the end of the week.
Free Play – bonus funds that can be used for wagering on slots
Free Bet – a casino funded free bet that can be used on most markets
Risk-Free Bet – a bet that carries no element of risk, since the casino will refund the full amount if the players lose. If the players happen to win, the bets will be settled in full.
Some casinos often categorize promotions according to the gaming categories, which means that you can claim bonuses tailored for live dealer games players, sports betting, slots, bingo, poker, and so on.