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Sports betting in Ireland

When it comes to betting, the Irish spend billions of euros every year.

Online betting IrelandEven though Ireland is relatively small, it is the home of some world-renowned bookmakers offering services to millions of players in different jurisdictions. You surely have heard names like Paddy Power, Coral and BoyleSports. We will go into more details regarding these bookmakers further down the article. First, let’s see how sports betting – both online and offline – became so popular in Ireland

History of Sports Betting

The first form of a Gambling act was signed all the way back in 1931, regulating the taxation of retail bookmakers in Ireland. This was followed by a Gaming and Lotteries act in 1956, allowing lotteries and sports betting in Ireland but putting casinos outside the law. Certain loopholes in the 1956 Betting Act made another update necessary, resulting in the 2013 Betting Bill. From that moment, operators needed to hold a license no matter if they have a physical presence or are entirely remote.

Popular Sports in Ireland

Simply put, Irish punters do not care for football in their betting endeavours. They do like football – however, it’s Gaelic football they prefer, which also being the national sport of the country. Gaelic football is held accountable for a third of the online sports betting Ireland has to show for.

Ireland Horse Racing

Hurling is another popular sport in Ireland, responsible for a quarter of all live attendances at sporting events. Some bookmakers report that there are moments when Gaelic football and hurling are very close regarding market share. However, during the championships, Gaelic football is always on top.

Despite Ireland’s strong national team that managed to impress in recent European and World Championships, football only comes on the third position.

Other sports that enjoy increased popularity in Ireland are horseracing and rugby, each of them gathering a notable number of people on the stadiums for live events. Of course, this translates in an equally large number of punters at online bookmakers or physical betting shops.

Online Sports Betting Data in Ireland

Even though it has a small population, Ireland’s total gambling revenue competes with nations that are far numerous. A total of € 6.2 billion in revenue was reported in 2017, representing all forms of gambling both online and offline.

Gaelic football isn’t the sport that brings most punters to the online bookmakers. Horseracing is actually the most popular sport regarding betting volume, with over 70% out of the total wagers placed by Irish punters last year. Next in line, soccer gets 31% out of the total bets placed while Gaelic football and golf follow with 23% and 15%, respectively.

Online gambling in Ireland

Best Bookmakers in Ireland

Below you will find an overview with the pros and cons of Ireland’s biggest bookmakers.

Paddy Power

Paddy Power is the biggest Irish bookmaker – both online and offline. It was established in 1988 in Dublin and offers online betting services to millions of punters from all over the world. With a strong tradition behind and a punter-orientated strategy, Paddy Power managed to maintain their position as leaders in Ireland. Their expansion marked an important moment in 2016 when they merged with Betfair, a very successful betting exchange. The result of this merge leads to even better odds and promotions for punters choosing both brands.


  • Very competitive odds;
  • Huge amount of betting markets;
  • A lot of in-live betting options;
  • Live streaming of thousands of events.



Coral was founded by Joe Coral and Tom Bradbury in 1961. Starting as a betting office in Dublin, the two slowly developed the industry and the brand grew into what is now known as the Ladbrokes Coral, owned by GVC Holdings starting March 2018. Just like Paddy Power, Coral grew to include other bookmakers and bingo ventures as well, and it offers a wide range of services to their punters, both online and offline.


  • Great range of sports and betting markets;
  • Multiple products such as online casino or bingo;
  • Appealing welcome bonus;
  • Great odds on horse racing and greyhound racing.


  • A big list of jurisdictions that can’t play at Coral.


Founded in 1982 as a betting office, BoyleSports is currently the largest Irish independent bookmaker. John Boyle is the man who started everything and grew the brand up until last year when Conor Gray took the role of CEO. Both through their online and offline operations, BoyleSports offers an extensive range of sports betting, casino and lottery products. You can always be sure that you’re getting the highest odds and the most in-play betting options at BoyleSports.


  • International online presence;
  • Millions of registered users;
  • Great promotions for new and existing players;
  • Awesome lottery offer.


  • The football odds are not as high as other Irish competitors.

See also:

Value betting and wisdom of the crowd

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