If you’re thinking of placing a sports bet with an Irish bookmaker, you may wonder which sites are fully legal and licensed. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to Ireland’s betting laws, the best legal online betting sites and how to access them.
Legal Betting Sites in Ireland
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Legal Betting in Ireland
Betting has been one of the most popular pastimes in Ireland for many decades and it is perfectly legal to place a sports wager. Whether it’s backing a horse to win at Leopardstown or betting on your favourite football team, there are always plenty of wagering opportunities and luckily, the Irish laws allow you to partake in sports betting 24 hours a day.
Although Irish betting laws have been in place since 1931, the betting amendment of 2015 updated this longstanding legislation to allow offshore sportsbooks and online betting exchanges to operate in Ireland. This offers punters a much wider variety of options when it comes to choose an online betting site.
Nevertheless, it is still vitally important to check that your preferred online betting platform is fully licensed and regulated. Most online sportsbooks will hold a valid Irish gambling license courtesy of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) or a remote authority such as the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA). These organisations help to ensure that fair play is taking place and that punters are able to collect their winnings and that the online betting site isn’t acting dishonourably.
Where it is Legal to Bet
It is perfectly legal to place a sports wager anywhere in Ireland. The betting laws of 1931 (and the 2015 amendment) cover the entire country. Unlike the US and Canada, where each state and province has their own gambling laws, Ireland’s betting laws are simple and you can access an online sportsbook anywhere in the country.
The Best Legal Betting Sites
Here at betyou.ie, we’ve put together a series of comprehensive bookmaker reviews which cover all aspects of placing a bet. One of the most important characteristics of legal betting sites is safety and security and this is something that our reviewers prioritised when conducting their reviews. We’ve put together a summary which features a handful of the most popular betting sites Ireland and looked at how they endeavour to keep their players safe.
Boylesports are one of the most respected and well-known names in the Irish gambling industry and they have carved out a reputation for being reliable and trustworthy. They currently hold multiple licenses with the UK Gambling Commission and the Government of Gibraltar both overseeing operations. This helps players to feel safe and secure when placing online sports bets with Boylesports.
Although Casumo are strongly associated with their online casino, the Malta-based company have been operating a successful online sportsbook since 2018. They have three separate licenses which ensures fair play across their various platforms. They are licensed and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission, the Malta Gaming Authority and the Irish Revenue Commissioners.
Tonybet may not be a universally recognized brand in Ireland, however, they have been welcoming Irish customers to their impressive sportsbook for a number of years. The Eastern European-based bookmaker is licensed in Estonia by the Estonian Tax and Customer Board, however, they also hold a full UK Gambling Commission license too. This is reassuring and although their Estonian license is perfectly serviceable, Irish punters will be pleased to see that they are also locally licensed.
Slottica has been operating their online casino for a number of years, however, they opted to add a sportsbook to their site in 2021. They are fully licensed in Curacao and this offshore license allows them to operate in a number of different territories. However, they are a perfectly legitimate Irish online bookmaker and offer a wide variety of markets on Irish sports.
10Bet have become one of the most established names in Ireland and unlike many of their peers, they hold a Remote Bookmaker’s License in Ireland. They are also fully licensed by the UK Gambling Commission and the Malta Gaming Authority. If that wasn’t enough, they also possess a license from the Swedish Gambling Authority. Although the latter is largely relevant, it is pleasing to know that they are fully licensed and have various authorities checking on their practices.
Signs the Betting Site is not Legal
There is no definitive way of knowing whether a betting site is trading illegally, however there are a number of signs which may strongly suggest that something is amiss.
It’s always best to check the licensing details of a sportsbook before signing up, especially when it comes to new betting sites. These can usually be found at the bottom of the home page, although you may wish to check the FAQs or the About Us section if the regulatory information remains unclear. If the information isn’t forthcoming, this should immediately raise concerns. It is also possible to search for their details directly on the UK Gambling Commission website.
If their welcome offers and promotions appear too good to be true, this may also set alarm bells ringing. If their customer support doesn’t respond or they aren’t willing to carry out verification checks when signing up, these are all signs that a site may be acting illegally.
Finally, use your instinct. If something doesn’t feel right, do not proceed!
How to choose a legal betting site
When browsing legal betting sites, there are a number of aspects to consider. First and foremost, you want to ensure that you are signing up to a legitimate bookmaker, however, there are a number of other areas of interest which will inevitably play a part in helping you to make a final decision.
Most online bookmakers offer a welcome bonus of some description. This may come in the form of a free bet or 100% matched bonus. Although it’s always advised to read the small print when it comes to welcome bonuses, the majority of these provide a fantastic opportunity to test out the sportsbook using house money. It is not necessarily a case of simply choosing the most generous welcome bonus, but selecting the one which is tailored to your betting needs.
Although every single legal betting site will have a mobile-friendly version of their site, not every sportsbook has a dedicated iOS or Android App. If you’re happy to access the site using a mobile browser, this is unlikely to be a concern, however, the majority of bettors prefer to have an App which can be easily downloaded and installed. You can still sign up for an account and qualify for your welcome bonus using this.
The majority of Irish punters will encounter very few problems whilst placing sports wagers, however, from time to time, problems may arise. These issues may prevent you from claiming bonus money or may involve a bet settling incorrectly. In this situation, it’s good to know that the bookmaker offers a high level of customer support. If you’re thinking of signing up for a bookmaker, it’s always best to check that they have several ways of getting in touch. Live chat is the most efficient way of speaking directly to an operative and is often the quickest way of resolving ongoing conundrums.
User Interface and Navigation
One of the most important considerations to make before signing up for an online betting site is the usability of the site. Most legal betting sites will have their quirks and they may be suited to every single player. Some sites can be clunky whereas others may be written in a frustratingly small font. If they have a downloadable betting apps, it may also be best to check this. If a site is frustrating to browse, it may be best to look elsewhere.
Markets, Odds and Bet Types
If you’re serious about sports betting, you’ll want to make sure that there are plenty of betting markets to choose from. Whether you tend to stick to one sport or you like to bet across multiple leagues and competitions, it’s always good to know that there is a wide variety of options available. Likewise, finding a sportsbook which offers an array of bet types including multiples, forecasts, placepots and accumulators is absolutely essentially.
Finally, if you want to ensure that you get the best possible returns on your winning bet, then checking that your chosen online sportsbook offers competitive odds is essential.
Legal Betting Sites vs Illegal Betting Sites
|Legal Betting Sites||Illegal Betting Sites|
Legal Betting SitesClear licensing information available on the home page
Illegal Betting SitesLicensing information unavailable or vague
Legal Betting SitesWelcome Bonus and Promotions are similar to other online bookmakers in Ireland.
Illegal Betting SitesWelcome Bonus and Promotions appear ‘too good to be true’. Overly generous offers are regularly advertised.
Legal Betting SitesAge Verification and Proof of Funds checks upon signing up
Illegal Betting SitesNo verification checks. You are not asked for your DOB.
Legal Betting SitesSpeedy response from customer support using live chat, telephone or email service
Illegal Betting SitesNo response from customer support. No customer support advertised on the site.
What the Irish Law Says
The Irish gambling industry is essentially self-regulated. Since the Betting Act of 2015, Irish gamblers have been able to access and wager with offshore sportsbooks and casinos as well as those who are based in the country.
However, the Betting Act of 2015 also made it illegal for online betting sites to facilitate Irish players without possessing a legitimate license. If the sportsbook does not possess a license from the UKGC, MGA or the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association, then it cannot legally accept Irish customers and may be subject to a fine.
Unlike other countries, it is perfectly legal to place a bet on any sporting event which has been priced up by online bookmakers.
How to Place a Bet with Legal Betting Sites
Betting with a legal betting site can be an incredibly enjoyable experience and it is extremely straightforward to get started.
- Sign up for an account. Submit your details, choose your preferred currency and await a confirmation email.
- Make an initial deposit (and claim the welcome bonus)
- Browse the sports markets and odds
- Once you have found your preferred bet. Click to add it to your betting slip
- Add your preferred stake
- Double check that you’re happy with your bet
- Click ‘Place Bet’
Your bet will be settled once the event has concluded. However, some online betting will give you the opportunity to cash out midway through the match.
Top Features of Legal Betting Sites
As well as offering a wide range of betting markets and generous welcome bonuses, legal betting sites offer a number of additional features which significantly improve the betting experience. These will vary between online bookmakers, however, there are some features which are fairly commonplace amongst Irish betting sites.
- Cash Out – this is the chance to collect some (or all) of your winnings midway through an event. This is a great addition and is perfect for in-punters.
- Accumulator Boosts – betting on accumulators is extremely popular amongst Irish punters, particularly during a hectic fixture list. Accumulators tend to feature 4+ selections and can be created using any market. Accumulator Boosts improve the projected returns and are a great way of ensuring that you get more for your money if you’re lucky enough to land one.
- Live Streaming – If you’re a keen in-play punter then you’ll want to keep across your chosen event. Live streaming is a feature offered by many Irish bookmakers and gives you the chance to stream pictures from thousands of top-class sporting events from around the world. This is ideal if you’re betting on markets such as ‘next goal’ and ‘next try-scorer’
- Extra Places/Enhanced Odds – Irish punters love getting added value and a number of online legal betting sites offer incentives such as extra places and enhanced odds. The latter is a great way of boosting the odds of popular markets such as both teams to score, whereas the former is ideal for horse racing or greyhound racing fans and offers an additional place to the standard three or four.
Ensuring that you are signing up to a legal betting site is vitally important and as you’ll see from our extensive selection of reviews, there are plenty of Irish betting sites who operate legitimately and are fully licensed and regulated by reputable authorities. Most Irish sportsbooks also have a commitment to responsible gambling and this is something which authorities such as the UK Gambling Commission have been keen for bookmakers to advertise on their site.
Irish bookmakers have put various methods in place to help promote responsible gambling. These include offering time out to vulnerable players and also by offering punters the chance to limit their deposits. There are also measures such as responsible gambling week which help to promote sensible staking.
Legal Betting FAQs
Is online betting legal in Ireland?
Yes, online betting is perfectly legal in Ireland and the laws cover all forms of gambling including lotteries, poker, casino games and most importantly, sports betting.
Who licenses online sportsbooks in Ireland?
There are a number of gambling authorities who have been created to oversee the sector. They are constantly reviewing the situation and conducting audits on the most popular online sportsbooks in Ireland. They also deal with customer complaints and are able to hand out significant fines if the bookmaker doesn’t adhere to the gambling laws or is deemed to be acting unfairly. Although the UK Gambling Commission oversee most Irish betting sites, other authorities such as the Malta Gaming Authority also provide the same service.
How do I check if a betting site is fully licensed?
Although it is possible to simply google this, each online betting site must provide their licensing details and these can usually be found at the bottom of their home page. If you can’t find it on their site, then it may be best to consider using a different online sportsbook. All licensing and regulatory information is also covered in our comprehensive betting site reviews.
Are betting site legal if they aren’t based in Ireland?
Yes, the betting amendment act of 2015 allowed all offshore betting sites and exchanges to trade in Ireland. Punters can now sign up to any online sportsbook (which could be based anywhere in the world), as long as they are fully licensed and regulated.
Is it safe to place a sports bet with any online sportsbook?
As long as your chosen betting site is fully licensed and regulated, it is perfectly safe to place a sports wager. Authorities such as the UKGC carry out regular checks to help ensure that bookmakers are treating their customers fairly and aren’t withholding payments or voiding winning bets. All betting sites must adhere to a set of stringent rules which include using the latest technology to help ensure that your details are stored securely.
- Irish Betting sites
- Legal Betting Sites in Ireland