Betting Laws in Ireland: How Different Are They From the Rest of the EU

  • 2022-10-27

Since ancient times, gambling in all of its forms has been subject to extensive regulation in the country of Ireland. Throughout its history, Ireland has supported a sizable horseracing business, and the country's culture has a long and illustrious tradition of betting both on and off the track. 

Since the 18th century, many legislation and common law have codified rules governing bookmakers, the locations where bookies operate, and gambling in general. Although Ireland has not historically had a casino sector, this began to alter in the early 2000s when private members' clubs began offering limited gambling facilities. 

Betting in Ireland

The Betting Act of 1931, in its various iterations, is the primary piece of legislation that governs betting. The Betting Act, which regulated the bookmaking business and relaxed some of the limits on gambling that were included in the Betting Act of 1853, was enacted to abolish the Betting Act of 1926, which was enacted to govern the bookmaking industry.

The Betting (Amendment) Act 2015 was the legislation that brought about the most major amendment to the Betting Act. This piece of legislation was the first of its kind to regulate offsite bookmakers and betting intermediates, such as those operating online. 

The Betting Act includes a license requirement that applies to all new betting sites in Ireland that accept wagers from customers located in the same region. This requirement is in place to prevent illegal gambling.

The Totalisator Act of 1929, in its various iterations, is the primary legislation that governs the Tote, also known as pari-mutuel. Since that time, the Irish Tote has indeed been virtually run as a state monopoly.

Ireland and EU Gambling Laws

Due to the fact that Ireland is a member state of the EU, EU gambling directives Article 56 TFEU8 as well as Article 8 of Directive 98/34/EC are applicable. Companies that are licensed to conduct online gambling in other EU countries must be allowed access to the Irish market, and all these companies must be given a way to obtain local betting licenses. 

These regulations state that online gambling businesses should be able to obtain local betting licenses. This isn't the situation at all. In a case that was quite similar to this one, the EU's highest court found in 2016 that Germany cannot penalize or restrict international operators that do not have licenses because Germany had made it difficult for these companies to obtain licenses.

Since then, Germany has opened up its gambling industry to customers using the internet. As of the year 2021, it satisfies all EU regulations. Since Ireland only issues licenses for online sports betting and the licenses of other types of web-based games of chance are still ironed out, Ireland is unable to legally continue pursuing unlicensed online casinos originating from other EU countries. 

This is due to Ireland only issuing licenses for online sports betting. As a result of this clash with EU legislation, Ireland is in the very uncommon position of being unable to prohibit its citizens from participating in offshore, unlicensed online betting sites (and these businesses do not pay taxes in Ireland). This scenario is quite exceptional. Players who use unlawful online gambling sites to place wagers are not subject to legal repercussions.

Bitcoin Betting in Ireland

At this time, Ireland doesn't have any legislation that is specifically related to gambling using bitcoins. Due to the fact that bitcoin, litecoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies are not recognized as a form of legal money in Ireland, none of the land-based gambling establishments in the country accept cryptocurrencies.

The several payment processors that online bookies licensed in Ireland use do, in fact, accept cryptocurrencies as a form of payment.

Betting Tax in Ireland

Bookies in Ireland are required to pay a betting duty equal to 2% of their annual gross revenue. Bookmakers operating from a remote location are subject to the same taxation obligation for wagers placed with Irish residents. The current betting intermediary duty for remote gambling intermediates is set at 25 percent of their commission fees. 

This duty must be paid by remotely betting intermediaries.  In contrast to the majority of other countries in Europe, the value-added tax (VAT) does not specifically exclude gaming services in Ireland. 

Therefore, online providers that are licensed in other countries but who are offering e-gaming facilities to Irish clients should be recognized and should charge Irish VAT at a rate of 23% on playing from Irish users. This is because the law requires it.

Final Verdict

Numerous marketplaces for gambling can be found across Europe. The European Commission backs the efforts of EU member states to modernize and upgrade the legal frameworks governing internet gambling in their respective countries, particularly in the context of administrative collaboration between the regulatory bodies responsible for gambling.

Additionally, it offers assistance in order to guarantee a high level of safety for consumers as well as other vulnerable individuals, including minors. Regulators are confronted with new obstacles and challenges on a regular basis, and they must find ways to overcome these obstacles and challenges. 

Rules are frequently updated and amended in order to raise their level of safety. It is not yet clear whether or not the European Community will eventually adopt a legal framework that is consistent across all of its member states.