How casino regulation in Ireland compares with Spain:

Every country in the world approaches gambling and online casino ireland laws differently. Many factors influence the rules, and when it comes to betting, one of the biggest in many countries is the historical, often religious bans on any form of gambling. Spain and Ireland are two very interesting case studies, with laws that are similar in many ways, but also more than worthy of comparison.

Today we take a look at the fundamentals of casino regulations in these two countries - how they are similar, how they differ and why that might be.


Let's get stuck in.


Terrestrial casinos.

The first difference to get out of the way is that Ireland is divided into two regions: Northern Ireland is governed by the UK, while the Republic is an autonomous country. The rules, of course, differ in both cases, and this always requires careful consideration when comparing Irish casinos with those in other countries.

In Northern Ireland, there are virtually no casinos.

irish casinos

There are virtually no casinos in Northern Ireland. With the exception of small, rare arcade slot machines and other virtual games, casinos are virtually non-existent in Northern Ireland. This is due to historic legislation that has yet to be reformed and is also steeped in certain Protestant sensibilities. Views on gambling vary among Protestants, but many disapprove or even outright forbid the practice.

Spain, on the other hand, is home to 50 casinos across the country, from the biggest and richest gaming houses in Madrid and Barcelona to small family-run businesses in smaller towns. Although they are of course regulated, the Spanish population has historically been majority Catholic. Catholics are allowed to gamble as long as it does not interfere with the performance of normal "offices". The Republic of Ireland is also largely Catholic.

The Republic of Ireland is also largely Catholic.

Of course, there are many more factors involved in gambling than the majority religion, but it contextualises this information in an important way. Ireland as a whole has had problems with casinos for many reasons, not least the split between Catholics and Protestants.

Ireland has had problems with casinos for many reasons, not least of which is the split between Catholics and Protestants.

Regional rules also apply in Spain, as all gambling matters are regulated at both national and sub-national levels. In the 17 autonomous regions, the rules vary from place to place.

Regional regulations vary from place to place.

But while land-based casinos were once the only game in town, today they are being quickly and decisively challenged by the advent of online casinos.


Remote and online casinos


The first thing I want to say is that in both Spain and Ireland, online casinos cannot offer gambling and betting products under foreign licences. They have to be licensed and regulated by the local commission, even if they operate internationally.

But that said, a huge number of hugely popular online casinos have emerged over the past decade and this has changed the nature of casino gaming in both countries. Even in Northern Ireland, which is limited to physical casinos, there are huge numbers of online casino players on a daily basis.

In Northern Ireland, which is limited to physical casinos, there are huge numbers of online casino players.

In Spain, around 1.47 million people were gambling online in some capacity by 2018, representing around 3% of the population. This includes an increase of around 300,000 XNUMX new users, and this number continues to grow.

Ireland has seen similar growth since the advent of online casinos. Today, Ireland as a whole accounts for about 2.6% of the total gambling population in all of Europe.

Ireland as a whole.

Once again, as long as these casinos are licensed, they have every right to offer casino games or Irish casino slots to the Irish public. Undoubtedly, one of the reasons why this move has become so popular has to do with the strict regulation of casinos. Compared to Spain, although we can see that online casinos are still very popular, the gap between remote and physical casinos is bigger.

The Irish casino industry has become the main focus of the Irish casino industry.

Regulation of the betting industry in both of these countries is primarily aimed at preventing financial crime, so let's look at how these regulations work.


Preventing financial crime


In Spain, the local regime overseeing the prevention of large-scale money laundering and terrorist financing is the RBI. This body establishes what is known as the "obliged entity", which means that all the rules and relevant provisions set out in part of the 2010 legislation apply to gambling operators.

In many respects, the precise requirements of these rules are very similar to those in force in Ireland. These rules impose certain obligations on casino operators and mean several things. Firstly, it means that casinos must have discretion in identifying at-risk customers.

It also means that casinos in Spain and Ireland must report inconsistent activity that could potentially mean money laundering.


Other basic requirements relating to accounting, internal controls and risk assessment are also met by both countries, whether we are talking about remote or real land-based casinos.


Advertising and marketing


In any country where the rules for casino operators will be the strictest, it's about advertising. In Spain, there are plenty of rules governing how marketing should work - Royal Decree 958 of 2020 limits the amount of advertising these operators can run.

The rules are very strict.

These rules are very similar to those in Ireland, where both countries have specific laws in place, such as on their marketing aimed at children and young people. Regulators in both countries seek to limit the impact of casinos on young people.

In Spain, however, the rules are much stricter: operators can only broadcast audio-visual marketing between 1am and 5am. Irish operators can place their ads at any time.

If we're being specific, the rules are much stricter.

As far as casino regulation is concerned specifically, Ireland is still somewhat of an exception. There are very few land-based casinos in the country, and while we can expect further reforms to this legislation in the future, at the moment casinos in Ireland are heavily regulated. Spanish casinos are of course regulated, but the fact is that casinos are more or less universally permitted for licensed premises throughout the country. Ireland, or at least Northern Ireland, still more or less lacks land-based casinos, with the exception of Dublin.

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