Is Online Gambling Legal in Ireland?
Online gambling is legal in Ireland for those aged 18 and over. However, gambling legislation is a little more complicated than in other jurisdictions such as the UK. This is because, currently, Ireland doesn’t have its own gambling regulator. As a result, Irish gambling sites are licensed in foreign locations, albeit by major regulators such as the UK Gambling Commission, the Malta Gaming Authority, and the Curaçao Gaming Control Board.
Ireland’s most recent gambling legislation came in 2015 with the Betting Act. This act modernised previous laws that had existed long before the advent of online gambling. The 2015 act stipulated that every online gambling site must be licensed by the Revenue Commissioners, thus allowing the Irish government to collect taxes from operators.
Through the 2021 Gambling Regulation Bill, the Irish government set out plans to establish its own Gambling Regulatory Authority. The bill has been marked as priority legislation, with the hope that the Authority will be functioning before the end of 2023.
So, what will the Authority’s role be exactly? Essentially, it will regulate gaming, betting and lottery services in Ireland, in addition to the advertisement of these services. Much like other regulators, the Authority will set the terms of licences, audit its licensed operators, and sanction any operators that are in breach of licensing terms. It is hoped that by establishing more direct control over Irish gambling sites, players will receive better protection and the government can play a more prominent role in shaping the online betting and casino landscape.