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Along with being the home to many sports and athlete success stories over the years, the Irish also have a strong affinity for placing bets on these events. In 2019 alone, the annual turnover for sports betting was 9.8 billion Euros in Ireland, accounting for almost 40% of the total betting revenue in Europe as a whole. This is quite a feat considering Ireland has one of the smallest population sizes in Europe which speaks to the country’s love of competitive games.
With the rise in remote gambling and betting sites over the past decade or so, it is no surprise that this form of betting was most popular with the younger demographics such as the 25-34 year olds and the 18-24 year olds with percentages of 5.7 and 4.8% respectively.
Paddy Power owner, Flutter Entertainment, recorded a 43% increase in revenue of 1.7 billion Euros alone in the first quarter of 2021. This figure was up by a third from the previous year which saw revenues reach a total of 1.3 billion Euros.
In 2019, Irish betting duty receipts nearly doubled from the previous year for both traditional and remote betting vendors. The following year in 2020, the revenue collected from remote vendors finally exceeded those of traditional bookmakers for the very first time, breaking the 40 million Euro barrier by a comfortable margin, totalling 40.6 million Euros.
Betting in Ireland
Ireland is unique in that some of its most popular betting sports can only be found on its isles including Gaelic football and hurling. Along with curling, handball, rounders, camogie and Ladies football, these six sports represent the internationally renowned Gaelic Games.
Similarly, golf has also found a sporting home in Ireland thanks to some of the best players in the world hailing from there as well as its lush golf courses which cannot be found anywhere else. Rugby, athletics, boxing and of course soccer are also hugely popular sports in Ireland.
More recently, due to the immense talent and popularity of MMA and UFC champion, Conor McGregor, these two sports have seen a huge spike in popularity which corresponds to the huge rise in sports betting. Similarly, 40% of all pay-per-view sales made by the UFC in 2015 were made by McGregor alone which goes to show just how big of a draw an athlete of his calibre is.
In addition to these sports, sites like Betfree betting sites show that horse racing and greyhound racing are also two of the most popular betting sports in Ireland with 26 licensed horse racing tracks and 14 greyhound tracks.
In 2019 the Irish government published a report on the gambling habits of the population. Some of the most popular forms of gambling in Ireland were found to be lotteries and scratch cards, accounting for just over half of the number surveyed. A study in 2016 found that this was probably due to the fact that lotteries required less time, risk and knowledge for people to take part in than other forms of gambling. Just over a third of those asked reported taking part in this activity every month. A staggering 70% of those aged between 35 to 64 were found to have placed a bet the previous year.