Retail casinos in Ireland
Gambling at casinos in Ireland is not like in many other countries – technically, it is illegal. However, a number of casinos get around these laws by operating as private members’ clubs. These retail casinos are exceptionally popular with a late-night clientele and give players access to the full array of casino games. While they are much smaller than gambling venues in Las Vegas, Irish land-based casinos provide a unique experience and fill of your favourite real money games.
As you would expect, the bulk of casino wagering happens in the Irish capital, Dublin, but it is not on the same scale as other major cities, which can boast multi-level, football field-sized casinos. Instead, the live casinos in Ireland are a more boutique product with a major focus on poker.
To join these “private members’ clubs” is usually just a formality, although some of them do charge a small fee for the right to play at the casino. There is often free alcohol and food for people spending money on the gaming floor. This creates a unique and warm atmosphere in many of them.
Useful Irish pages:
List of casinos in Ireland
78 Club (Macau Sporting Club)
Phone: +353 1 478 3494
Address: 78 Aungier Street, Dublin
Amusement City Casino
Phone: +353 1 474 3273
Address: 4 Westmoreland Street, Dublin
Atari Expo – Omni Park Entertainment Center
Phone: + 353 1 862 2601
Address: Omni Park Santry, Dublin
Atari Expo – Square Town Entertainment Center
Phone: + 353 1 862 2601
Address: Square Town Taillight, Dublin
The Bank Casino: Card Club
Phone: +353 21 425 1937
Address: Clarkes Bridge House, Cork
Phone: +353 1 478 5858
Address: 20 Montague Street, St Stephen’s Green, Dublin
Colossus Casinos Sporting Club
Phone: +353 1 478 5858
Address: 5-5a Montague Street, St Stephens Green
Emerald Casino – Dundalk
Phone: 0429 356 519
Address: 16 Park Street, Dundalk
Gold Rush Casino
Phone: +353 21 480 6484
Address: 53 Corn Market Street, Cork
Macau Sporting Club – Cork
Phone: +353 0 21 453 0477
Address: 16 Patricks Quay, Cork City
Macau Sporting Club – Dublin
Phone: +353 0 1 475 5377
Address: 78 Aungier Street, Dublin City
Mayfair Casino Club
Phone: +353 1 475 9025
Address: 15 Harcourt Street, Dublin
Phone: +353 0 87 640 4928
Address: 24 Earslfort Terrace, Dublin
The Fitzwilliam Card Club
Phone: +353 1 611 4677
Address: Clifton Hall, Lower Fitzwilliam Street
Irish casino laws
It’s crazy to think laws surrounding casinos in Ireland are from legislation set in 1936 and 1951. Almost 70 years on, casinos have become big business but yet operate under antiquated laws.
In a simplified format the Irish laws mean a 1 per cent tax is applied to a gaming machine, but a live game at a casino will be charged VAT at a rate of 23%. They also state patrons at casinos must be aged at least 18 years old. While it’s not law, most casinos also have a strict dress policy.
Despite a recent update to the laws surrounding the rapidly growing online casino industry in Ireland, moves to properly regulate casino wagering there are moving slowly.
Progress, which all the businesses in the industry are campaigning openly for, seemed to be coming in July 2013, when Alan Shatter published the Gambling Control Bill.
Still, for various reasons the regulation of this industry has gone by the wayside although the Gaming & Leisure Association of Ireland continues to campaign for regulation right across the industry.
One of the anomalies in the Irish industry is how virtual games such as roulette, often found in betting shops, will be taxed at only the 1 per cent rate, even though it is essentially the same product. Many Irish politicians are on record saying proper regulation and laws are needed and can help a somewhat shaky economy.
What is the best casino in Ireland?
It’s open for debate but a few of the World Gambling List staff have stumbled around the Temple Bar struggling to find a pub that is open, only to be told to head to a private members’ club, or casino.
The WGL nomads agree the Fitzwilliam Card Club is the premier venue for poker, with some of the biggest tournaments in the world making a stop there in recent years.
Interestingly Ireland, for a small country, has a huge history in poker with many globally recognizable stars such as Phil Laak and Eoghan O’Dea, who is the son of Donnacha O’Dea, another prominent Irish player. Laak , known as the “Unabomber”, is renowned for both erratic play and eccentric behavior, including a bizarre exchange with the world’s best player, Daniel Negreanu.
The World Gambling List has hundreds of poker guides, plus extensive information about playing poker games online, available. Many of the top poker sites in the world accept players from Ireland.
In comparison to other countries the offering of games at Irish casinos is meager, although the poker is competitive and plentiful. You will find Texas Hold’em, Omaha and often 5 Card Stud with varying buy-ins.
Generally Irish land-based casinos will have just a few tables or wheels of both roulette and blackjack, although this is not an absolute given at some of the smaller casinos, which might ignore one game, or even both.
Other games which can be found include baccarat, and games against the dealer including brag, which is the game from which 3 Card Poker was derived.