Gaming, apps and betting in Ireland and Portugal

GAMING, APPS AND BETTING IN IRELAND AND PORTUGALThe gaming industry is constantly evolving, and that’s whether you are looking at things from the perspective of Ireland or Portugal. In Ireland in particular recent years have seen a huge growth in the industry and there are now more gaming apps and sports betting apps than ever before.

Things also continue to change rapidly in Portugal. In this article we look at some of those changes and compare between the two countries.

The landscape in Ireland and Portugal

As EU member countries, Ireland and Portugal are mostly covered by the same legislation when it comes to gaming and gambling. However, in Ireland there has been a raft of recent legislation that has in many ways updated existing laws to reflect the modern world. The Betting Amendment Act (2015) was soon followed by the Gaming and Lotteries Amendment Act (2019) which has further adapted laws to bring them into line with how things now operate.

In Portugal there are three main laws covering the gambling sector, with one each for land-based gambling, bingo halls and then the iGaming sector. And of course it is the latter – Law No. 66 of 2015 – which has been designed to regulate the area in which the biggest advances have been made in betting and gaming in recent years.

Sports betting innovations

A main difference between Ireland and Portugal is that there in fact very few bookmakers in Portugal. Players can still sign-up with international companies of course, and they are legal to play, but there are few bookmakers to be seen in Portugal, and are no Portuguese bookmakers of note.

In Ireland things are very different, with bookmaking premises a staple of the Irish high-street. There are a few major Irish bookmakers operating both at home and abroad, and similarly many international bookmakers boast solid player numbers in the Republic.

Of course the increase in popularity of sports betting, and iGaming and betting in general, has been influenced by technological developments. The main sports betting innovations of recent times have been three-fold:

  • Mobile gaming

With the increase in popularity of mobile devices, it’s no surprise that one of the biggest changes in recent times has been the adoption of mobile betting as the number one way of placing bets. Many of the world’s top international sports betting and gaming sites have produced betting apps that adapt to the mobile experience. Now able to ‘bet on the go’, players are taking the opportunity of this new-found freedom, as they are in many other areas of life.

  • Live betting

Certainly from a sports betting perspective, live betting has been a revolution of recent times. Whereas before bookmakers would only offer pre-match markets on events, with developments in technology and the speed in which bookmakers can adapt their odds (not to mention the speed at which it is now possible to place bets), live markets are now king.

Customers can follow their favourite sporting event and place bets as the action unfolds, and this has proven popular whether you’re in Ireland following GAA or rugby, or else in Portugal following one of the major football teams such as Benfica, Porto or Sporting.

  • Esports and Virtual sports

Another major trend has been developments in the number of events and types of activities you can bet on. Traditional sports have been joined by virtual sports and now Esports – computer game competitions to the uninitiated – as events which players can bet on. These events are huge, and Ireland and Portugal are certainly two European markets in which the growth in popularity has been marked.


Another of the areas in which Ireland and Portugal differ the most is land-based casinos. Technically land-based casinos are illegal in Ireland, but loopholes do mean that some betting establishments are allowed, usually in the form of private betting clubs. In addition there are physical bookmaker premises to be seen all over Ireland with the likes of PaddyPower, BoyleSports and Ladbrokes the most commonly found.

In Portugal, meanwhile, land-based casinos are allowed and there are currently nine cities each possessing a single casino. The largest of these is the Casino Estoril which boasts as many as 35 gaming tables complemented by well over a thousand slots and games.

But again among the biggest advances in recent years in both jurisdictions have been the growth in online casinos. All of the major international betting sites now offer online casinos and there are additional casino sites thatF offer literally thousands of options, from online tables to slots, games and more. There are even virtual casinos now which are growing in popularity across the globe, with Ireland and Portugal very much following suit. All in all, the gaming and betting scenes are thriving in both Atlantic-lapping countries.


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