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Are UK players turning to Ireland?

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The United Kingdom has one of the longest traditions of gambling in the world, which dates from several centuries ago. It was also one of the first countries that started to regulate online gambling. Several acts have been brought in the last few decades and the last one occurred just recently. There are few interesting updates, which bring a couple of restrictions that may have a negative impact on the playing experience.

The shackles of law can be too tight sometimes and that’s exactly how many online gamblers in the UK feel today. Simply, the new set of regulations notably changes the nature of online casino games and if we can trust casino experts, a scenario where UK players could turn to abroad casinos doesn’t seem that unlikely at all. However, we don’t believe that many of them will register on a website based on some exotic destination. Instead, online casinos in Ireland may look like a pretty good alternative.

UK Online Casino Legislation – Main Issues

The UK is one of the first countries that has regulated online betting. Whether it’s about casino or sports betting, the Gambling Act from 2005 covers pretty much everything. Various fields are regulated, starting from age restriction, taxation, advertising restriction.

Along with the Gambling Act, the government also formed a regulatory body called UK Gambling Commission, which is best known for license issuing. If a certain online casino wants to offer its services in the UK, it has to gain the license. In practice, this means meeting all kinds of criteria, whether it’s about technical aspects of the website, or safety.

Soon after, the UKGC became a role model for other countries, while the license is a matter of prestige even today. Casino websites apply for this license, in order to gain a reputation as a trusted operator, no matter if they actually offer their services in the UK or not.

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As online gambling was becoming more and more popular, a few big problems among the gambling population appeared. The biggest ones are definitely problem gamblers. Their number isn’t small at all, so the Gambling Commission was forced to make some updates on the Gambling Act. Unfortunately, that includes a couple of unpopular measurements.

As traditional methods weren’t particularly efficient, the 2021 update has brought a couple of pretty radical measurements, which directly impact the gambling experience.

For example, auto-spins have been removed. Also, there are additional 2.5 seconds between spins now, which completely changes the dynamics of slot machines.

On the other hand, some measurements are very good and make perfect sense. For example, players can’t gamble anymore with the money they’ve requested to withdraw from their accounts. Also, operators have to display the entire tally of both monetary and playtime lost while playing and clearly state if the player has lost or won.

The last but not least, there is the credit card ban. Almost 1 Million UK gamblers use their credit cards to gamble. In other words, they gamble with the money they have to repay later. In many cases, they don’t have it. According to the UKGC, 22% of those who use credit cards have gambling problems. We presume that many of them will try their luck on websites registered in Ireland.

Gambling Regulations In Ireland

Unlike the UK, Ireland is still waiting for an act that comprehensively regulates online gambling. Despite that this country also has a huge tradition in gambling, this modern way of gambling is still unregulated. At the moment, there is no specific licensing method, while most other aspects of remote gambling are yet to be regulated.

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At this point, most operators are offering their services to Irish players from off-shore locations. Of course, we are talking about houses that have gained some of the highest reputable licenses, from Malta or Gibraltar, for example. There is also the option to gain one of two available licenses in Ireland, but most casinos choose not to bother with them.

However, this will change soon. Ireland’s government started to work on its gambling act eight years ago and it finally passed in 2019. However, its application has been delayed and will be for some more time. Once it gets on power, it will bring several big novelties, starting from the new licensing system, wagering restrictions and similar things.

So, you probably wonder what’s the point if the new law is on the way in Ireland as well. The catch is in the fact that Ireland’s experts started to work on this act years ago. On the other hand, the online casino is evolving at rapid speeds and it has already brought new challenges that aren’t included in this act. This also refers to the most recent measurements of the UKGC we talked about.

That means that gamblers from Ireland won’t trouble with restrictions similar to ones that were recently introduced in the UK, such as new rules for slot machines and similar things. When it comes to credit cards, we believe that they could soon be forbidden in Ireland as well, as that’s becoming a global trend these days.

This Gap Won’t Last Forever?

We have no doubt that Ireland’s government will follow the latest trends of online gambling legislation but if we consider that everything has been done at a steady pace so far, we have enough reason to believe that this gap between the UK’s and Ireland’s legislation will last for some more time. This particularly refers to the latest restriction we talked about. On the other hand, credit card prohibition will probably occur in the near future.

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What About Operators?

Once the new act gets on power and the licensing starts, we have no doubt that many operators will register their business in Ireland as well. Moreover, we may even expect that some operators will move their companies from other countries. The main reason lays in Ireland’s well-known tax policy. So, operators may take advantage of Ireland’s attractive tax rates, which can be beneficial for the UK players as well. At this point, we can only speculate.


As you can see, the UK gambling legislation is in a pretty advanced stage, so advanced that it even looks aggravating for players. On the other hand, Ireland’s legislation is still loose in many ways, which provides more opportunities for players.

Even with the new legislation, it will still miss some of the key boundaries that trouble UK players. This particularly refers to the aforementioned restrictions regarding slot games. On the other hand, the credit card issue may be solved a little bit quicker.

Operators could also benefit from the new legislation, especially if we consider attractive tax rates. All in all, predictions about UK players turning to Ireland don’t sound unrealistic at all. Time will tell.

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