Luck o’ The Irish Public Casinos May Become Reality

Posted on: July 15, 2013, 05:30h. 

Last updated on: June 16, 2014, 10:43h.

You might assume – as much as “luck” is associated with all things Irish – that they already have public casino gambling in the land of green; but you’d be wrong. Now the Irish government is moving to change all that with the introduction of the Gambling Control Bill 2013, the first step towards creating a regulated land casino framework for the country.

Going Public

Although “members only” private casinos have existed for eons in Ireland, they have essentially operated outside of any proper legal confines. As everywhere, there is intense discussion and debate regarding the new public casino bill, mostly revolving around where said casinos would be located and what kind of restrictions would be included, according to the Irish Times.  And the public will be included in those referendums, with no doubt many strong opinions on the topic.

In a country that many think of as the epicenter of good luck and pots of gold (and with all the obvious marketing slogans that come to mind), a casino resort would seem like a natural, but a previous attempt to build a €460m  (about $600 million) Las Vegas-style casino in Tipperary was nixed by the government back in 2011. At that time, Alan Shatter, Minister of Justice, noted, “We’ve made very specific decisions in the public interest. Those specific decisions include a decision that we will not be making provision for resort-style casinos.”

The new bill would only allow smaller casinos, with a maximum of 15 tables and 25 slot machines, and no more than 40 such licenses would be available throughout the country.

Legal Forms of Gambling

Meanwhile, other forms of government-sanctioned gambling continue to thrive; the world-famous National Lottery continues, although tickets are reportedly quite pricey, and bingo remains a popular pastime as well. In the sports betting department, the Horses and Greyhounds Racing Act of 2001 allows Irish citizens to place bets, but only with companies based outside the Republic of Ireland. And while poker is legal – with many major tournaments held there – event promoters are not allowed to take any vig or rake from the events, no doubt limiting their attractiveness to tournament organizers.