Gambling has, historically, been a complicated market in Ireland. It hasn’t always been legal, and there are very different rules in the ROI and Northern Ireland. Nonetheless, today, the market is growing rapidly, thanks to a wide variety of factors. The market is expected to continue growing over the next few years and shows no signs of slowing down. While you might automatically think that the online market is the most important reason for this, land-based betting is also on the rise.
Let’s look at the different figures for Ireland’s growing gambling market.
Betting of one form or another is certainly the most popular way to gamble in Ireland. In 2019 alone, the Irish spent almost €10 billion on betting of some kind or another. This total spent was distributed over an enormous 70% of the population, all of whom bet in some form or another over a year. Naturally, some individuals bet a great deal more than others, but the figure is nonetheless very telling.
The single most popular form of betting, unsurprisingly, is lotteries and scratch cards. Of the 70% of people who gambled in the last year, around 56% of those did so either by buying a lottery ticket or scratch card.
In terms of demographics, the most likely to vote are aged between 53-44, and 55-64. Betting is easily the most well established way to bet in Ireland, whether that’s on the lottery, on sports betting such as on horse racing or on football games. The Irish have been betting in this way for a very long time, and the market is expected to grow to close to €20 billion by 2027.
That said, betting is not the only way the Irish bet.
Online casinos make casino betting more accessible than ever. Land based casinos are, strictly speaking, illegal in Ireland—though that hasn’t stopped establishments from offering betting services through a membership loophole.
But online casinos are becoming more popular all the time. Compared to pre-2020, around half of all casino betting now takes place online. There are over 2,000 operators in Ireland running licensed online casinos, and this aspect of gambling alone accounts for anywhere from €50-100 million per year in gambling revenue.
Online casinos in Ireland are expected to grow by around 10% by 2026. With all this said, there are upcoming regulations to the online casino market in Ireland which may spell trouble for their overall growth figures. It’s naturally very hard to say exactly what these regulations may look like, but at their current pace, online casinos are plainly going to drive enormous growth in Ireland’s gambling market.
So, where does that leave online gambling as a whole?
Online casinos are naturally an important part of Ireland’s gambling market, but online gambling like sportsbook betting is plainly where the real growth is occurring. Online betting sites are advantageous for the players in many ways which has drawn more people to the game. Online betting revenues have been more or less doubling year on year for the last few years. Around €4-5 billion each year is accounted for in online gambling revenue.
Whether that’s betting on the football, the horse racing, or even more obscure niche markets like foreign sports leagues or even reality TV, online betting is enormously popular in Ireland. Online betting for sportsbook or anything else is far more accessible than, say, physical betting shops. Players can easily bet from home with their mobile or desktop devices, and on a much wider variety of markets. Not only that, with the wider markets available, players are more likely to find something they are actually invested in to bet on. If you are not a big football fan, you might be able to bet on your favourite reality show!
What’s particularly important to note about the Irish gambling market is that the Irish are, per capita, some of the most avid bettors in Europe and the world. In terms of the money spent on gambling based on the population, Ireland is the third biggest country in the world for gambling and this figure is growing. This is down, in very large part, to the move towards online gambling and the availability, and increased competition, between betting operators in Ireland.
Whichever area you look at, then, it’s plain to see that it’s all growing. Online gambling has made the activity open to a vastly new market that would not otherwise be able to place a bet or play in a casino. While we can expect the regulations to be shaken up more and more over the years, and this will certainly influence how the market expands and changes, one thing is certain: Ireland’s gambling market will continue to grow for the foreseeable future.