Irish bookmakers

Per capita, Ireland is the third most popular nation for betting in the world. Irish bookmakers have big boots to fill, then, and a wide market to cater to. Whether it’s land-based bookies or betting sites, there are lots of needs to be catered to.

Today, we’re going to look at how the biggest bookmakers operate—whether the betting sites are edging out the traditional brick-and-mortar betting shop, or if the traditional methods look to be sticking around for longer.

Let’s look into this.

Betting shops

There are still around 1,000 betting shops in Ireland today. Despite what you might assume, many of them are still reporting increases in their profits from physical locations. Paddy Power, the biggest Irish bookmaker, recorded a 32% rise in profits in the first quarter of 2020. Betting shops still accounted for a large portion of this.

Retail betting in the country employs over 8,000 people, with three major operators spearheading the industry. There are also around 330 standalone and independent businesses.

So, though betting sites are becoming more and more popular, the betting shop of the past is still as popular as it ever was. The majority of independent bookmakers have no online presence, and contribute significantly to their local economies in this way.

What certainly does seem clear is that traditional and independent bookmakers have been more adversely affected by outdated legislation and duties, so the sector has tightened in a number of ways.

Let’s look at how betting sites are sidestepping these issues.

Betting sites

As the legislation is more up to date, since it’s had to be newly written for the emerging online betting industry. The total industry is worth from €6-8 billion per year, and while betting sites still only make up just under half of that, they’re still very much gaining in popularity.

Betting sites allow Irish punters to bet on a much wider range of markets than ever before, from international sports to big events like the Olympics or even Eurovision.

Betting sites are, in many ways, more accessible than betting shops, and this goes a long way in explaining their popularity. There is no need to leave the house, so you have the convenience of your own device and the comfort of your own home.

Betting sites, too, have begun to offer more and more free bets. These bets are a great incentive to get customers involved with online betting in the first place. Then, once they’ve started, many find it hard to go back to the old way.

Up to €10,000 a minute is spent online gambling in Ireland, making them the fourth most avid gamblers in the EU.

As things stand today, then, neither are clearly winning out or taking over. A big shift is plainly happening, but the physical betting shops are still very much planted in their place. How things will go in the future is uncertain, then, and though betting sites will become more popular, it isn’t completely clear what will happen to the older bookmakers.