For centuries, it’s been illegal to operate a casino in Ireland. Members-only clubs have been the exception, due to loopholes in the Gambling and Lotteries Act that club owners were able to exploit.
This didn’t change until 2013, when the country decided it wanted to enter the 21st century. The short version is that licensed casinos are now allowed to operate in Ireland. We cover the longer version later on.
However, if you’re anxious to start playing now, we have a list of our recommended Ireland casino sites below. Each one is a high-quality, Irish-friendly casino. Choose any one from the list, and you can be playing your favorite games in less than 10 minutes.
The bottom line – when you join an online casino in the table above, you know you’re joining a safe and high-quality place for Irish gamblers to play their favorite games.
Casino Gaming in Ireland
For the longest time, casinos were illegal in Ireland. Only sports and race betting were allowed.
Well, that’s not entirely true. There were loopholes in Ireland’s gaming laws (Gambling and Lotteries Act) that several establishments exploited. They created “members-only” clubs that offered casino games.
Irish gamblers needing a fix could also find Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) in betting shops all over Ireland. These machines offered casino games such as slots and roulette. They have been criticized, though, for being too addictive and costly.
There have been criticisms about the Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1956, too. People were able to gamble in members-only clubs anyway. Not only that, but the state was unable to collect revenue from these clubs.
So, despite the addictive nature of FOBTs, the increasing numbers of people with gambling problems, and the state having the 3rd-highest average gaming loss in the world, Ireland decided it was time to update their archaic gaming laws.
The Gambling Control Bill passed in 2013. It replaces all existing arrangements for betting, gaming, bingo, and lotteries in Ireland. The exception is the National Lottery.
This bill extends to online gambling, too. The bill provides the infrastructure needed to regulate the industry. This includes protecting the public from underage and problem gambling. It also provides provisions for licensing and taxation.
As of 2018, the industry is more or less self-governing. At first, the bill stated that they would establish a gaming regulator. That’s changed, though.
The bill will be amended to recommend that an independent statutory authority be established instead. This authority will oversee many aspects of the gaming industry. This includes advertising, sponsorships, problem gambling treatment access, and more.
It’ll be interesting to see where things go from here.
The bottom line – casino gaming and gambling in general have progressed more in the last decade or two than the last century. It’s flourishing online and off in a time where online gambling is still in its infancy.
It’s a great time to be a gambler in Ireland.
We get lots of questions from our Irish readers about online casinos. The questions range from choosing a casino to banking options to playing games on mobile devices.
Instead of answering everyone individually, we thought it’d make more sense to include all the questions/answers here in a FAQ format. You’ll find the most common questions we receive and our answers below.
5 FAQs About Choosing an Online Casino Site
1. Which casino is best for Irish gamblers in 2020?
This is tough to answer because it often comes down to the individual. Casino sites are different from each other in the following areas:
Banking options and limits
Terms and conditions
It goes beyond this, too. Some online casinos are better for small-stakes players than high-stakes players. Some casinos offer live dealer games, while others don’t. Some casinos have stronger table game and video poker sections than others do.
The list goes on and on. All these variables mean that some casinos will be better for one kind of player than another based on what each player wants/needs.
Our list of recommended casinos above is a good place to start if you’re not sure what you’re looking for. You can also pick a casino based on a specific game or deposit method you want to play or use. We have several pages on GamblingSites.com where we recommend casinos based on specific desires.
2. What’s a rogue casino?
A rogue casino is a casino that takes advantage of their players. They could do any of the following:
Rig their games so that they’re no longer random/fair
Take deposits with no intent of paying players their winnings
Retroactively change their terms so that they can break their own rules
Force players to take a bonus so that they don’t have to pay them their winnings
And so on.
To a lesser end, you could say predatory terms and slow pays are signs of a rogue casino, too. That’s not always the case, though it’s more often than not a sign of a rogue casino in progress.
We don’t recommend rogue casinos here at GamblingSites.com. So it’s unlikely you’ll end up at one unless a casino goes rogue later on.
It happens – we’re not psychics!
Just keep your ears to the ground, and you should be able to avoid the bad neighborhoods online.
3. How do I know if a casino is safe or not?
We can write thousands of words on this topic and on the topic of rogue casinos, but we already have. There are several guides on our site that will describe how to tell the best from the worst sites in more detail.
We can give you the TL;DR version here, though. Here’s a quick rundown of what you want to look for in each casino you consider joining.
They are licensed
They have a positive reputation with preferably NO history of rogue behavior
They have reasonable terms and conditions. This includes bonus terms, cash-out limits, etc.
Their support is responsive and helpful
Give them bonus points if they’re publicly traded
If a casino can check every single one of these boxes, they’re plenty safe. They may not be a great casino, but at least you know it’s unlikely that they’ll steal your money or information.
4. How do you choose which casino sites to recommend to players in Ireland?
Safety-wise, we go through the same steps outlined in the last question. Safety is the most important thing to us, so we make sure each casino is licensed, has a positive reputation, and so on.
There’s more to check out, though. For example, we also look at the casino’s games and software.
Since our recommendations are for our Irish readers, we try to make sure the casino sites we recommend are well-rounded. That means they have a large selection of games that includes options such as slots, table games, video poker machines, and a live casino.
This applies to the casino’s offers, too, which is something we also look at and rate during our review/rating process.
Ultimately, we try to make sure each casino will appeal to the masses instead of any particular kind of player. From here, it would make sense for you to read our reviews if there’s something in particular you’re looking for. That way, you can find a casino that’s a good fit for you.
5. How many casinos should I join?
This depends on a few variables. For example, how large is your bankroll, and do you want to divide it across several casinos? What games do you want to play? How important is earning VIP perks to you?
We recommend you join as few casinos as possible. You’ll earn loyalty perks faster that way.
That said, we don’t want you to do that at the expense of your enjoyment. If you need to join multiple casinos to access all the games, variants, and offers you want, by all means, join them all.
You’ll have to play this by ear to see what works best for you. There’s no harm in joining a few casinos to see which ones are the best fit. You can always cash out of the ones that don’t work and redeposit your funds into your favorites.
5 FAQs About Bonuses and VIP Programs
1. Can Irish casino players claim bonuses?
Yes. This depends on the casino, but you should have access to all the same types of promotions players in other countries are offered. That includes welcome bonuses, reload bonuses, free bets, free spins, rebates, and more.
Keep in mind that the specific offers you’re able to claim may be different, though. They can be a different size, larger match, more/less spins, etc.
2. How do welcome bonuses work?
It’s pretty simple. These welcome bonuses are given to you when you make your first deposit. Sometimes these are limited to your very first deposit. Other times, they’re multi-deposit offers.
Here’s an example of both.
Say Paddy Power is offering a 100% bonus up to $100 on your first deposit. They will give you $1 for every $1 you deposit (a 100% match) up to a max of $100. Deposit $25, and you’ll get $25. Deposit $99, and you’ll get $99. Deposit $125, and you’ll get $100.
Now let’s say they’re offering a 100% match bonus up to $100 on each of your first 3 deposits. You can make your first, second, and third deposits and receive as much as $100 each time.
Here’s what that might look like.
Deposit $25, and you’ll get $25 for a total of $50
Deposit $87, and you’ll get $87 for a total of $174
Deposit $150, and you’ll get $100 for a total of $250
All in all, you’ll have $474 between your deposits and bonus money.
These are only examples – bonuses come in all shapes, sizes, and with different terms. But this is generally how they work.
3. What’s a playthrough requirement?
Bonuses, spins, rebates, and so on come with a catch. They’re not given to you for free – otherwise, people would immediately cash them out, and the casino would lose their shirts.
To combat this, the casino asks that you wager your deposit or your deposit and bonus so many times before you’re allowed to cash out.
For example, say you claimed a 100% match bonus up to $100. You claimed the entire amount. This offer has a 35x playthrough on the deposit only.
This means that you’d need to wager $3,500 ($100*35) before you could cash out. If you cashed out too soon, the casino would void your bonus and quite possibly any money you won with it.
Make sure you pay attention to rollover terms because they can range from reasonable to predatory. You don’t want your money locked up somewhere because you committed to a 5- or 6-figure playthrough.
4. I want to play blackjack. Can I claim a bonus?
Maybe. It depends on the casino site.
Most table games and video poker machines are hit or miss when it comes to bonuses. This is because these games have such a low house edge and/or are easily exploitable. The casino can take a huge hit financially.
What they do to balance this out is require players to fulfill a higher playthrough. This is usually 2x-20x the default playthrough. Using the 35x example above, this could mean that you’d need to wager anywhere from 70x to 700x.
Using our $100 example, this would mean wagering anywhere from $7,000 to $140,000 depending on the playthrough and if you need to roll over the deposit or the deposit AND bonus.
Is it worth it, then, to accept the bonus?
On the low end, yeah, maybe. On the high end? No way!
You’ll have to decide that for yourself, though.
5. How do I join a VIP program?
This depends on the casino.
If it’s a general program – one that’s available to everyone – you’re usually signed up automatically once you create your account or once you make your first money bet.
If it’s an exclusive program, then that means it’s reserved for high spenders. If you think you’re playing or spending enough, most casinos encourage you to reach out to them. In other cases, the online casinos will monitor your play and will reach out to you if they think you’re a good fit.
4 FAQs About Casino Banking
1. What deposit/withdrawal options can I use to fund/cash out my account?
This depends on the casino. Each one accepts different payment methods. That said, you can usually find casinos that accept the following options.
Pay By Phone
Few, if any, casino sites will accept all of these options. Your best bet is to decide which options you’d prefer to use. Then try to find a casino that accepts them.
2. Are there banking limits?
Yes. Like everything else, banking limits vary from casino to casino.
A lot of international casinos have no limits on deposits. If there are limits, they’re usually in the 5-figure range. Some of the lesser popular options will be in the 4-figure range. Again, this really depends on the casino and the banking method you’re using.
Most casino sites will have limits on how much you can cash out at one time. Smaller online casinos will limit you to $2,000-$5,000 per day/week, while at the larger casinos, you can usually cash out a bit more. The absolute max you can cash out varies so much that it makes more sense to read the reviews or reach out to the casino for information.
3. What happens if I hit a progressive jackpot? Will I get paid in one lump sum?
You’re going to love this…but it depends. Shocker, right?!
Technically, most online casinos should pay progressive jackpots in full because they don’t pay the jackpots out of pocket – the software providers do. And most of the higher-quality casinos do pay progressives in full. They just ask that you wait up to 30 days so that they can verify the win.
Other casinos pay progressive jackpots out in installments. The shortest timeline we’ve seen is the entire balance in 10 months. But then we’ve seen others where the max you can receive is $10,000-$30,000 per month. You’ll receive these payments until the balance is paid in full, which can take years if you happen to win a 7-figure jackpot.
While a score that large is unlikely to happen, it’s still a good idea to check the casino’s terms and conditions to see how they treat large wins. You might not win a million bucks, but you could very well win $50,000 or $100,000. It’s important to know how the casino will handle wins of all sizes.
4. Do I have to pay fees on deposits/cash-outs?
Some casinos charge fees. Others don’t.
Most casinos don’t charge fees on deposits. The biggest exception you’ll see is if you don’t roll your deposit over 1-3 times. Many casinos state in their terms that they reserve the right to charge you fees then.
It’s the reverse for cash-outs – most casino sites will charge you a fee. This varies from a couple of percentage points (usually on credit/debit cards or e-wallets) to as much as $75 for a bank wire.
6 FAQs About Casino Software and Games
1. What casino games are available to Irish gamblers?
You should be able to play any of the following games.
This includes 3-reel classic slots and 5-reel video slots. You’ll find slots with all sorts of features, including bonus rounds, wilds, free spins, and more
This include options such as blackjack, roulette, Caribbean Stud, Casino Hold’em, War, Pai Gow Poker, craps, Three Card Poker, and more
This includes titles such as Joker Poker, Tens or Better, Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild, and more
This includes live games such as blackjack, roulette, Casino Hold’em, and baccarat
Many casinos also have scratch cards and arcade games you can play.
Keep in mind that the exact games you can play will vary from casino to casino. A big factor involved in what games are available is the software providers the casino works with.
2. Do I have to play for real money?
No. Most casinos will have a play or practice money version of their games. You can usually play this version for as long as you want.
There are some exceptions. Some casino sites don’t have play money versions. Even if they do, live casino games are hardly ever available for practice. You can’t play for progressive jackpots on play money games, either.
3. Can I play casino games on my phone/tablet?
Most casinos nowadays offer either a native app for phones/tablets, or they have an instant-play casino that you can access from your mobile web browser. The latter is more common.
The games you can play from your mobile device vary wildly from casino to casino. Some mobile casinos will have their entire desktop library available to you, while others will have a few dozen games.
Another factor is the specific device you’re using. If you have a newer-gen Apple or Android device, you should be fine. Blackberry and Windows devices are hit or miss.
4. Are there betting limits?
Yes. All online casinos will have a minimum and maximum table stakes.
On the low end, slots start at $0.01, video poker starts at $0.01-$0.05, table games start at $1, and live games start at $0.50.
It varies too much on the upper end. That said, $250 is common for slots, $100 for video poker, $250-$500 for table games, and you can find live dealer games as high as $10,000 for blackjack and $75,000 for roulette.
If you’re a high-stakes player, we recommend you read our casino reviews and/or read our high-stakes casino page. Most casinos don’t offer nosebleed stakes on their animated games, so you might have a hard time finding one on your own.
5. Can I play on my Mac?
Yes. Most modern casinos don’t require you to download software anymore. What they have instead is an instant-play casino that you access from your browser. All you need then is a web browser and Flash installed on your computer.
6. Do I need to be connected to the internet to play?
Yes. You’ll either need to be connected to Wi-Fi or LTE/3G/4G. We recommend Wi-Fi when possible, as casino games can quickly eat through your data allowance (unless you have unlimited data).
It’s a great time to be a gambler in Ireland. A couple decades ago, you could only bet on sports or races. The exception was if you were able to join one of those members-only clubs that exploited loopholes found in the state’s archaic gaming laws.
Nowadays, you can or soon will be able to play whatever casino game you fancy, thanks to the laws passed within the last decade. You can play offline, online, or both.
Lots of people would love to be in your position, so don’t squander it. You can get started right now. Scroll up to the top of this page and choose an Irish-friendly casino site from our top-list table. You’ll be playing your favorite game before you know it.