The culture of gambling is deep-rooted in Ireland and this is the reason that nearly all forms of betting and gambling are legal in the country. Divided into two jurisdictions, Ireland’s northern part coming under the ownership of United Kingdom has different gambling laws as compared to the Southern Ireland or the independent Republic of Ireland. Gambling in Ireland was initially uncontrolled but after the introduction of the Gaming and Lotteries Act in 1956, the scenario changed and regulations were placed on all forms of gambling.

During the past years, the spending of the Irish people on gambling related activities has increased from nearly 1.3 billion Euros to 3.6 billion Euros, a figure being just double of the original in a short time span of five years from 2001 to 2006, displaying the popularity and therefore the subsequent spending. These figures are inclusive only of the offline gambling and do not include online gambling, which is fast picking pace in Ireland, since its legalization in 2003.

After the legalization of online gambling in 2003 in Ireland, the first online site came into existence in 2004, others following suit. The Irish rules governing the online gambling are quite liberal as the entities operating out of Ireland are exempted from paying any betting tax or duty. For this reason, those people from Ireland, who are gambling with offshore entities either online or on the telephone, are exempted from paying the 1% betting duty. However, with the recent announcement by the Irish Minister of Finance, things are going to change as even these entities are going to be brought under the betting duty ambit.

The Irish gambling laws are governed by the Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1956, which legalizes private clubs as gaming clubs, but do not allow actual casino gambling. The result is that most of the casinos impersonate as private clubs. Although there have been talks of reforming the said Act, yet there have been no signs of any reform until 2009.

Other forms of gambling besides online gambling are quite popular in Ireland. One can easily find several bingo halls, sports betting clubs and private clubs, which provide ample gambling opportunities. Besides this, horseracing and greyhound racing too are very popular in Ireland. Although having the support of the Irish Government and holding the top most position in the gambling arena, horseracing popularity has slipped from its former position, in the recent years, due to several reasons. Efforts are being made to revive the industry and garner the interest that once existed in horseracing.

As far as online gambling is concerned, Ireland has shown its interest and for this reason has exempted the online websites, operating out of Ireland from paying any betting taxes. Similarly, winnings from gambling too are tax-exempted. However, the pace of online gambling is slow in Ireland probably because of the recent licensing of online gambling. Paddy Power and Ladbrokes are one of the most popular and famous names in online gambling in Ireland. Both these websites provide many gambling opportunities.