Put simply, the Republic of Ireland is not necessarily what any casino player would consider as their first choice for big casino action. While gaming, betting and other pastimes are popular in the country, casinos are effectively illegal as part of the Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1956. This means you definitely won’t find Vegas style casinos in the country, or even the smaller, urban casinos that are prevalent in neighbouring England. Instead, if our Irish readers want a casino experience, they must turn to private member clubs that utilise a loophole in the laws to offer a casino style experience. Membership is based on the applicant being over 21 and a resident of the country, meaning no passing tourist trade in the industry.
Recent developments have seen a new Gambling Control bill being touted and it is expected to loosen up the casino gaming requirements in the country – although you will still not find an MGM Grand in Dublin or anything like that. The new bill was published in draft form by Alan Shatter, Ireland’s Justice Minister and the focus is definitely on smaller gaming operations. The bill allows for forty casinos across Ireland in total, each with no more than fifteen gaming tables. Slot machines will be banned completely and anyone looking to run one of the new casinos will have to undergo strict background checks to prove their suitability.
While a long consultation process is expected within the government, the bill does mark a step in the right direction. Shatter sees it as an opportunity to bring a certain degree of certainty to the gambling sector in Ireland, something that is mainly unregulated. He said, “I believe that this bill will give Ireland a well regulated gambling system that will be recognised as such internationally.”
While the news will certainly not make Ireland into an overnight gaming heavyweight, the popularity of online casinos in the country and the increased availability of regulated land based gaming will undoubtedly see them improve the situation which can only be good news for the players.