Every country has it’s unique sports, in the USA you have American Football, in Australia you have Australian Rules football, and Ireland is no different. The ancient sports of Gaelic Football and Hurling can be dated back to some of the oldest sports in the world and these two are hugely popular in Ireland.
Ireland is also synonymous with horse racing and nearly every county in the country has its own race course or more. National hunt is more prevalent but as one of the biggest thoroughbred breeders in the world – Coolmore stud is based here, flat racing is also hugely popular in the summertime. This racing all year round means a lot of betting, which we will cover later.
The other major sport which has probably been the fastest growing over the last 20 years is rugby. In the months of October – May millions of rugby fans around Europe are glued to Champions Cup rugby and the Six Nations. In the UK and Ireland we have the Guinness Pro 14 and in the British Isles there’s Premiership rugby.
Let’s not for get the other most popular sports in Ireland sports, football/soccer is still massive with the Irish Premiership – The Airtricity League running nearly year around. And despite some horrendous results in recent years, the Irish international team is still a big draw.
Golf is another massive one, Ireland has produced a plethora of major winners – Shane Lowry, Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and of course Rory McIlroy. This lot bring in a massive audience to watch their favourites play on the PGA and European Tours, the golf revolution in Ireland has made the game hugely popular as a spectator sport but also to play and Ireland has the 4th highest amount of golf courses per capita in the world.
The recent success of both the mens and women’s hockey teams have seen a dramatic rise in the popularity and same for cricket. While Irish players haven’t had much success on the ATP World Tour or the WTA, tennis is still massively popular and one of the most popular sports to bet on.
Ok by now you’re thinking, where are we going with all this?! Let us explain. When it comes to betting on sport, some websites are more specialised to certain sports and geographic locations. Therefore is makes sense that a French or Spanish website may not be the ideal choice if your looking for odds in a Hurling or Gaelic football match!
So were going to give you a run down of the best betting websites in Ireland. When doing this there are a variety of criteria. Theres include –
Legality: not so much a problem now as it was 10 years ago but it’s still important.
Reliability: You don’t want to pick an unreliable site which could sink your money along with the business. It’s also important that the sports betting site or app has the technology and redundancy that get it though the very busy times like when major sporting events are in play.
In Play / Live betting: Most sites will now allow you to place bets after a match or race has begun and top betting sites will normally offer odds that are significantly shorter or longer, depending on how a race or match is unfolding.
Virtual Leagues: With very little tradition sport on offer so far in 2020 and similar to eSport, Virtual Leagues have exploded in 2020, with all major sports trying to get some sort of offering out to fans
Live Streaming: Because there are so many premium subscription sports channels and more recently online content providers. Live streaming on betting sites has become very important and some sites are particularly good at this.
Cash Out Features: Sites that let you cash out before or during a race or match, to help manage risk.
Tipping Guides: Tipsters are most important and most when it comes to horse racing and greyhound racing, and so were including this feature in the criteria for the top Irish betting sites.
eSport Offering: eSports are by far the fastest growing sports globally, and the decimation of the traditional sports calendar due to the Corona Virus pandemic has fuelled this growth art an even more rapid pace.
Casino / Poker: Big rise in standard casino and poker betting during the lockdown so we included this offering as part of the weighting.
Coverage: The variety of sports covered and the geographic coverage are important factors to choosing a betting site. Especially for people who may not live in Ireland but want to place bets on Irish sports
Deposit / Sign Up Bonuses: Nearly all book makers will offer this so the feature is less important that the actually amount.
User Experience: The ease and use of a betting site or betting app.
With all the above criteria as weighting, there are the top betting sites in Ireland:
There is one name that comes to mind, in fact it’s a name you can’t get away from in Ireland because of there omni present and sometimes hilarious marketing, that can only be Paddy Power.
They merged with Betfair in 2016 to create Paddy Power Betfair now Flutter Entertainment. Today, the business has four divisions: Online Australia, Irish Retail, UK Retail, and Telephone segments. In the interest of picking the most reliable betting sites (as no one wants to see their money being swallowed up by a bankrupt company) Flutter Entertainment has a stock market listing and valuation of over €7 billion this Irish company are in no fear of going bankrupt.
Paddy power are very strong across the board in all the most popular Irish sports and UK sports, at online Australian service provides sports betting services and is the market leader in the Australian gambling industry.
Paddy Power are the lead bookmaker in Ireland and their main selling point over competitors is the variety of betting formats, prices and coverage in the most played sports like Gaelic Football, Hurling and the other most popular sports, especially rugby and soccer. And are big sponsors of both sports. They are also very strong in horse racing in Ireland and England with good access to online viewing, commentary and tips. They also now offer a good eSports offering as well as the usual casino and poker gaming.
User experience for the mobile website and app are good as is sports coverage. No license to operate in the USA yet but we expect them to cover this soon.
Ladbrokes have been a physical bookmaker in Ireland for many years, their red and white colour can be seen in most big towns and cities in the country. Their move online has seen the migration of many of their customers to the Ladbrokes website and app. It’s vert hard for any of the top Irish betting sites to rival Ladbrokes in their horse racing and greyhound racing across Ireland and the UK, they provide excellent coverage, betting formats , live streaming and tips.
Their offering of betting formats and coverage of the biggest sports leagues and all other sports is very strong and offer all the above criteria for choosing a betting site. The Odds Boost feature is a big winner among it’s customers.
The UK betting firm Bet365 have been around since the year 2000 and have now amassed an estimated 45 million customers globally. They are number 1 when it comes to betting in football and are huge sponsors major European football teams, have also been traditionally strong in tennis betting with a very comprehensive live streaming service. 365 offer the usual suite of services – sports betting, casino and poker rooms on one website.
They are also one of the world’s biggest bookmakers so reliability shouldn’t be an issue. Because of their size Bet365 offer massive coverage across sports including eSports. In online rating for the service and user experience this company get top marks
888 have been around since 2008 and while they mainly focus on the European sport, in 2013 the Nevada Gaming Commission licensed 888 Holdings to provide online gaming, making it one of the first non-US online betting companies to operate in the United States.
888 have recently become strong in offering prices on new markets new sports such eSports and Fantasy football. The company bought Dublin based Betbright in 2019 so now have great coverage of Irish sports and wide range of horse racing and football markets. Golf is one of their big selling points which huge coverage across the sport. 888 rate highly in reviews
Betway has licenses across Europe as well as South Africa and Mexico. UK is their main market and they are massive sponsors across UK sport including including boxing, darts, football, snooker, tennis, horse racing and were one of the first bookies to get involved in offering a book and even sponsoring eSports.
Betway more all-around sports book but with a massive range of markets in football betting. Their #betyourway”, offering combinations of alternative bets are a big favourite among customers. Betway are not shy about paying out big wins either, they paid out €17,879,645 to a customer in 2015, which was a world largest ever jackpot payout in an online slot machine!
Their eSports betting offering is unrivalled and online user ratings are very good.
This bookmaker was founded all the way back in 1934 but only became a major global layer in 2012 when the UK bookie merged three businesses to establish William Hill US, the company has grown consistently to achieve the market share of around 30 %, making it one of the largest sports betting companies in the world.
William Hill is one of the very early movers into the US sports betting market and is one of the leading sports betting company in the US, and the biggest in Nevada online sports betting. Because of this they are very string in the US sports especially in NFL which has become quite popular in Ireland
They are active sponsors across all Irish, UK sport as well as Spanish football. They are particularly strong in football, horse racing and darts. They also more recently have a good eSports offering and excellent live streaming.
The betting app is owned by Paddy Power which are also one of the biggest sponsors in sport secures their reliability. Betfair has traditionally been the site for more sophisticated bettors, and have a massive offering in Irish horse racing, GAA and golf betting. They also have an exchange which allows customers to bet against each other rather than a traditional bookmaker. This gives Betfair the ability to offer more prices with fixed odds and exchange betting, than the others on the list. Their in play betting is also top of the group. User experience is good but sometimes confusing getting your head around all the prices they offer!
Betfair have all the above listed criteria for choosing a betting site including a decent offering in eSports and virtual sports.
Spreadex offer something very different to the above, you can not only have regular fixed odds but also spread bet on sports. Sports spread betting is a different way to bet on the outcome of a sporting event. You bet against the spread and not on fixed odds. As a result, the amount you win depends on how right you were about the direction you went in. This allow you to bet against a winner too, so for example if you don’t think a favourite will win you can win from betting against this favourite.