Who’s The Best Irish Bookmakers?October 23, 2018 3:57 pm
Thanks to a strong association with horse racing and a proud sporting tradition, betting and gambling has always been popular in Ireland. Irish bookmakers, as a result, have also long been prevalent and a number of them have grown to have an international presence, as well as being successful domestically.
This page is dedicated to giving you all of the information you could possibly need about those Irish bookmakers, and about betting in Ireland in general. We’re going to point you towards some Irish betting sites which we recommend and then give you some crucial details about Irish betting law. That will help you to spot Irish betting sites that are operating lawfully and more importantly to avoid those which aren’t.
List of Irish Bookmaker Sites
- Paddy Power
- Tommy French
- Bruce Betting
- Quinn Bet
- Bambury Bookmakers
Irish Gambling Legislation: Timeline
There has been a long history of betting and gambling in Ireland and as such, legislation regarding the legality of those activities also goes back a long way. The following is a brief timeline of the most major pieces of legislation which have helped to shape the gambling industry in Ireland as we would recognise it today.
Totalisator Act 1929
The Totalisator Act from 1929 is the primary piece of legislation governing the Irish Tote (Pari Mutuel horse racing betting). The main impact of this act has been to essentially establish the Irish Tote as a state-run monopoly by stipulating that;
‘It shall not be lawful for any person (other than the Revenue Commissioners) to set up, maintain, or work a totalisator save in so far and in such manner as such setting up, maintenance and working is authorised by a licence in that behalf granted under this Act.
Betting Act 1931
Prior to the passage of the Betting Act 1931, many gambling and betting activities in Ireland were regulated and managed by many separate, confused pieces of legislation. This act, therefore, was introduced to regulate the bookmaking industry and gambling as a whole, whilst also relaxing certain prohibitions which had been in place since the mid-19th century. According to the piece of legislation’s own introduction it was;
An act to make provision for the better regulation and control of persons engaged in the business of bookmaking, and for that and other purposes to amend the law relating to betting and betting houses.
The Betting Act 1931 introduced a number of measures and methods aimed at achieving its overall aims. Those included making it illegal to act as a bookmaker without an official licence and setting up the requirement for any bookmaker to first gain a certificate of personal fitness before being able to apply for a licence.
Gaming and Lotteries Act 1956
The Gaming and Lotteries Act 1956 is arguably Ireland’s main piece of legislation relating to lotteries and other gaming activities away from sports betting. It was introduced in order to repeal and replace a series of individual 19th century acts and other related legislation.
Under the act, gaming in general is prohibited except under certain circumstances. Those circumstances include if the gaming takes place in circuses, travelling shows or carnivals or if it is operated in a way so as to not fall within the act’s definition of unlawful gaming.
That definition states that unlawful gaming is gaming;
(a) in which by reason of the nature of the game, the chances of all the players, including the banker, are not equal, or
(b) in which any portion of the stakes is retained by the promoter or is retained by the banker otherwise than as winnings on the result of the play, or
(c) by means of any slot-machine not prohibited by section 10.
Sections 120-129, Finance Act 1992
Passed in 1992, the Irish Finance Act included a number of sections related to the operation of ‘amusement machines’. Those sections stipulate that a permit is required to operate those machines and that excise duty must be paid on issue and renewal of those permits. They also define something as an ‘amusement machine’ if;
(a) it is constructed or adapted for play of a game, and
(b) the player pays to play the machine by the insertion of a coin or token or card or in some other way, and
(c) the outcome of the game is determined by the action of the machine, whether or not provision is made for manipulation of the machine or use of skills by the player, and
(d) when played once and successfully by a player, affords that player no more than an opportunity to play again (once or more often) without paying to play.
Horses and Greyhound Racing Act 2001
The Horses and Greyhound Racing Act 2001 is a relatively minor piece of legislation but is important as it is the first instance of legislation on Irish Statute Books which relates directly to online gambling. The act made it explicitly legal for Irish punters to place bets with online bookmakers based outside the country.
National Lottery Act 2013
As we mentioned earlier, the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1956 largely prohibits gaming and lotteries. There is an exception made, however, for the Irish National Lottery and the current incarnation of the national lottery is legislated and regulated by the National Lottery Act 2013.
The act was passed after the National Lottery was put up for tender and that tender was awarded to a company called Premier Lotteries Limited. Under the terms of the act, that company’s licence to run the lottery lasts for 20 years and their operation of it is subject to fairly strict regulation.
Betting (Amendment) Act 2015
As its name suggests, the Betting (Amendment) Act 2015 was a piece of legislation primarily aimed at amending and updating the Betting Act 1931. Within the legislation itself it is described as;
An Act to make provision in relation to the licensing of bookmaking activities and, in particular, in relation to the conduct of bookmaking and bookmaking related operations by electronic means; for that and other purposes to amend the Betting Act 1931 ; to amend the Finance Act 2002 ; and to provide for matters connected therewith.
The act essentially tinkered with and modernised the original legislation, with a particular focus upon making it more relevant and applicable to online bookmakers and betting sites.
The Irish gambling industry, therefore, is one of the better regulated in the world. Irish punters can legally use betting sites both based within the country itself and operating from overseas, as long as those sites fulfil certain requirements as set down in the legislation discussed above.
Those requirements include the bookmaker, or a relevant officer representing the bookmaker, having received a personal certificate of fitness. Irish bookmakers have to get such a certificate from the superintendent of An Garda Siochana (Irish police force), whilst overseas operators must apply to the Irish Department of Justice and Equality.
After gaining a certificate of personal fitness, bookmakers must then apply for and be granted an operating licence under the Irish Betting (Amendment) Act 2015. It is only sites with both a certificate and a licence which can legally serve Irish punters. We will not, therefore, recommend any Irish bookmaker that has not got both of those pieces of documentation.