Throughout this guide, we’re going to learn what a sportsbook is, how do they work, how you can choose the right one from bookmakers reviews, what do the licenses do, what are your payment options, and lots of other helpful information.
What is a Sportsbook?
In laymen’s terms, a sportsbook is a platform where you place bets on sports you like at the given odds. If you’re not familiar with odds yet, don’t worry. We’ll cover it in the how we review the best bookmakers Ireland section.
A sportsbook is also known as a bookmaker or a bookie or a sports betting establishment. The activity of betting on sports is not a new concept at all. People used to bet thousands of years ago for entertainment. In fact, one of the earliest accounts of betting goes back more than 2,000 years in Greece. Apparently, the Greeks were very fond of sports and betting at the same time.
Later, the Romans inherited the trend from the Greeks and they made necessary changes to it. It’s believed that sometime after, the idea of a sportsbook was derived.
The job of a sportsbook is to gather sports events from both the local and international scene and offer odds on them. Different sports have different markets and in return, different odds. The sportsbook takes a commission for arranging everything for the bettors.
Fast forward to today, the betting trends have changed a lot. Now, when we hear “sports betting”, the first image that pops in our mind is horse racing bookmakers in the UK. Or, maybe it’s just us. But we can’t deny the fact that the UK has been a breeding ground for lots of betting trends in the last few centuries.
When iGaming became a thing in the mid-1990s, the first online sportsbook was born. According to the records, it was Intertops.com and the first-ever bettor was Jukka Honkavaara, a Finnish individual.
A long time has passed since then and now, we live in the world of the internet. Just like every other industry, a huge chunk of bettors has migrated to online betting thanks to the convenience and ease of access.
The bookmakers you see listed at the top of this page are the finest sportsbooks in the Ireland. Now, let’s move on to the next section where we’ll learn about the ranking factors and how you can incorporate them into your betting routine.
How You Can Choose the Right Bookmaker in Ireland?
The abundance of online sportsbooks all over the world has made it really hard to make a solid decision without compromising on one or more features. It’s especially intimidating for new punters because a lot of factors go into making a bookmaker worth your time.
To help the punters in need of some direction, we’re going to explore our ranking criteria. You can use this information every time you come across a new bookmaker. Before you know it, you may become an expert on your own!
The License is Important
The license is the most important aspect of any iGaming business. And we’re confident every expert on planet earth will agree with us on this point. A license is necessary to regulate the operations of a brand. The government can impose its up-to-date gambling legislation on a regulated operator.
At the same time, the operators are always trying to maintain transparency with the players and the government. Because one wrong move can cost a fortune in fine in this industry. So, it’s both the legit bookmakers and the governments who are willing to work out the licenses.
As a punter, your benefits are beyond question. When you bet at a licensed bookmaker, you can rest assured that offered odds are fair and the events are not rigged in any way. In retrospect, online casinos are at a greater risk of unfair practices than sportsbooks.
Ever wonder why?
It’s because the majority of the games at a casino are RNG driven. RNG is the Random Number Generator algorithm that pumps out random results after you launch a game. With a regulated RNG, there’s no way to predict what the next outcome will be.
However, as it’s a piece of software, there’s always room for manipulation. Even if the casino operator is fair, there might be a hacker remotely trying to rig the RNG in their favour.
But when it comes to sportsbooks, the wagers are not software-driven, except for virtual sports. The odds a bookmaker offers can easily be interpreted by punters.
However, you should still stay away from unlicensed bookmakers. Because apart from fairness, a license also protects you from payment frauds, money laundering, and data theft.
The Sports & the Markets
Once you’re certain that the platform you’re selecting is properly licensed by the appropriate authority, you may now look at the sports library. At pretty much every sportsbook in Ireland, you’ll find a complete list of all available sports.
Your goal is to find a library that contains all the games you like. If you happen to like commonly referred sports like football, cricket, handball, ice hockey, golf, or snooker, you’re in luck. Because almost all bookmakers in the Ireland offer these sports.
However, when you’re trying to find bookmakers sites with niche sports, you may have to spend a little more time. For example, MMA, MotoGP, politics, novelty betting events like the Oscars or Emmys, etc. may not be available across all Ireland bookmakers.
That’s why it’s very important to browse through the sports library of different operators to evaluate whether your preferred sports are there or not.
If you’ve already found the sports you’re looking for, you have to go in a little deeper to look at the markets.
In bookmakers definition, a “market” is an event that you can bet money on. For example, in Football betting, “To win” is a market. It’s one of the simplest markets which means you can bet in favour of a team “to win” the match.
There are plenty of other markets in Football alone. Interestingly, the markets are not always the same across sportsbooks. Different operators utilize different markets to draw their share of the crowd.
At the end of the day, you’ll be placing your money on the markets. So, you should know about the available markets before you start betting.
Look for Competitive Odds
Remember how we promised that we were going to cover the whole idea of odds with you? The moment has come. Odds is basically one of the fundamental components of the sports betting industry. If there were no odds, there would be no sports betting.
In traditional practices, “odds” refer to the likelihood of an event taking place. For example, “the odds of raining today are high”. It’s an acceptable interpretation in the betting industry as well. However, the primary purpose of odds is projecting the potential payout of a bet.
And by looking at the odds offered on a particular event, you can predict how likely it is for the event to take place.
There are three main types of odds used across sportsbooks all over the world. Sure, there are more subcategories to them but we’re going to stick to the three major categories for this guide in Ireland.
One of the most commonly used odds types in the world. Also known as digital odds, continental odds, or even European odds, these are widely accepted across the world except for the UK, Ireland, and the USA.
It doesn’t mean that the mentioned countries don’t “allow” these odds. It’s just that the punters prefer other formats over it.
Decimal odds is the direct multiplier for your payout. Whatever the offered odds are, you multiply your stake with it to get the full payout if you want. For example, if a market is offering 2.00 odds, it means if you wager €1 or currency equivalent on that market and win, your payout will be €2.
Keep in mind that decimal odds don’t project the profit only. It’s profit + your stake. So, from the 2.00 odds and your €1 wager, you’ve profited €1.
Spotting the favourite and the underdog is also relatively easy to decimal odds. The team or player with higher odds is the underdog. Because it’s a less likely event and that’s why you can win more money if it happens.
The favourite, on the other hand, will have lower odds because it’s the more likely outcome. And the majority of punters will place bets in favour of the favourite. So, if the odds were higher, the sportsbook may as well go out of business, right?
In the UK and Ireland, punters are the most comfortable with fractional odds. It’s denoted with two numbers separated by a slash (/) or a hyphen (-). It’s basically a ratio of the profit and stake.
So, a 4/1 fractional odds mean every £1 or equivalent you wager will yield £4 or equivalent in profit for you. The total payout will be £5. So, if you suddenly come across fractional odds in Ireland, don’t worry because it’s just as easy to read.
Just like you could differentiate between the favourite and the underdog with decimal odds, you can do the same with fractional odds. The team or player with a higher profit to stake ratio would be the underdog. The opposite would be true for the favourite.
Also known as Money Line odds, this is widely used in the United States of America, obviously. Among the three types, this is the most complex odds to understand. Although it’s not that hard once you get the hang of it, there are lots of variables at play here.
American odds are always accompanied by mathematical operators plus (+) and minus (-). When the odds are referring to the favourite team, you’ll see a (-) before or after the number. On the contrary, if it’s the underdog, there will be a (+).
Now, American odds are calculated with £100 or equivalent as the baseline. If it’s the favourite you’re placing your bet on, the number indicates how much you have to wager to win £100. For example, a money line odds of – (350) means you have to wager £350 to make a £100 profit.
On the other hand, if you’re betting on the underdog, the number accompanying the (+) indicates how much you can win from a €100 wager. Using the same example but changing the sign, we get + (350) odds. It means you can win €350 for your €100 wager if the bet wins.
Compared to the other two types of odds, spotting the favourite and the underdog is relatively easy with American odds.
Other Security Parameters
The elements we’re about to discuss in this section are not set in concrete as security measures. The license is the primary security. If the platform has one, it’s generally considered safe. However, it’s always better if you have additional safety measures in place, isn’t it?
- Website Security
As these are all online bookmakers in Ireland we’re talking about, you need to use their websites to access the services. So, the website should be protected against hacking attempts or malware.
Most modern operators have SSL 128-bit encryption on the website. To know whether a website has one or not, look into the address bar of your browser. There should be a padlock icon before or after the URL.
- 3rd Party Auditor
An auditor in the iGaming industry is an external organization that complements the license by monitoring the fairness aspects. The operator itself employs the auditor to make sure there’s nothing shady going on with the odds or the bets.
- Payment Protection
It’s always better if the operator is regulated by a major financial organization in the Ireland. For example, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is the designated organization to oversee online payments in the UK.
An ADR or Alternative Dispute Resolution organization is also employed by the operator. In case a bettor claims a dispute with the bookmaker, the ADR is supposed to resolve it from a neutral perspective.
How to Open an Account at a Sportsbook?
Now that you know how to choose an online bookmaker in Ireland, we can move forward with getting you an account. The steps are very simple for the registration. In fact, we have dedicated guides on how to register for each of the bookmakers.
So, without going into too many details, let’s sum up the process for signing up at the bookmakers with licenses in Ireland.
Step 1: Choosing an Operator
The first and the most obvious step is to select a brand. You can use the parameters we’ve discussed in the previous section to make an informed decision. After you’re happy with the selection, visit the bookmaker’s website and browse through the pages to check out the features.
Step 2: Registration
Once your decision is concrete, you can go ahead and click on “Sign Up”, “Join”, or any other button that indicates the new player sign up. Complete the steps of the registration based on our “How To” guides.
The key point here is that you should always use accurate information. Unlike some other industries, you cannot use a fake account for real money gambling. The bookmaker in Ireland will verify your identity and address before crediting any real money into your account.
Step 3: Deposit & Bet
After the registration is complete, you can simply make a real money deposit into your account and start betting. If there’s a welcome bonus the bookmaker is offering, make sure you claim it. Welcome offers are one of the greatest ways to start your journey on a positive note.
Bonuses You May Get at Ireland Bookmakers
We’re all aware that online gambling sites have various lucrative promotions for customers. Although online casinos are more vibrant when it comes to bonuses and promotions, the bookmakers list of promotions is not to be ignored.
In this section, let’s shed some light on the most common type of sportsbook bonuses you may come across in Ireland.
This is something you can expect at pretty much every online gambling platform, both for online casinos and sportsbooks. As the name suggests, it’s a bonus to “welcome” you on the platform. In most cases, it’s a deposit match on your first or the first few deposits.
For example, “100% match on first deposit up to €200” is a very lucrative offer. Keep in mind that there’s a minimum deposit required to qualify for this promotion. Also, you may have to enter a bonus code if the bookmaker instructs you to. You can find the information on the T&C section for the offer.
Free bets are an exclusive promotion to bookmakers online. It’s very much like how free spins are exclusive to slots. Think of free bets as betting vouchers that apply to predetermined events by the bookmaker.
For example, you may get €10 worth of free bets on an English Premier League match. It means you can place a bet or a combination of bets not going over the €10 threshold. Moreover, you have to maintain minimum odds for the free bets.
“£10 free bets on English Premier League Semi-Finals at 1.50 minimum odds” is an example of what free bets might look like. Interestingly, these can be a part of the welcome bonus, daily/weekly/monthly bonus, or even reload bonuses.
Another self-explanatory bonus. You get this bonus when you “reload” your account as in depositing more money. Reload bonuses are for existing players and it’s most commonly credited if there’s been a gap in betting.
What we mean by that is if you take a long break from the bookmaker in Ireland and come back with a deposit, you can receive a reload bonus. Of course, the particular rules vary from operator to operator and country to country.
This is another quite common online sportsbook promotion and exclusive to this paradigm. As you already know what the odds are and what they mean, you should be glad to know that you can get boosted odds.
Basically, the bookmakers increase the odds on a particular event as a surprise to the punters. The information is published shortly before the event is supposed to roll out.
Sportsbook with Licenses
We’ve already discussed the importance of licenses with invigorating details. You know why a license is important for both the bookmakers and the punters.
Now, the question is where can you find the licensing information? And how do you know if the claimed license is valid or not?
When it comes to finding the licensing information, your best bet is looking into the “Terms & Conditions” page of the bookmaker in Ireland. It’s the page where all important facts are listed. You can also try the website footer section but due to varying website designs, not all operators have the license on the footer.
Once you find the clause that declares the license, your job is to go to the corresponding regulator’s website and verify the license. The operator is most likely to mention an account number (UKGC), a license number (MGA/Antillephone N.V.), or any other identifying information on the license.
If you can’t find the license number, search on the regulator’s directory with the URL of the sportsbook or the name of the operator. If you can’t seem to gather any information at all, it’s time to call it off and consider another bookmaker.
There are lots of licensing authorities all over the world. Different ones have jurisdictions on different localizations. For example, the UK Gambling Commission oversees the betting paradigm in the UK. Similarly, sports betting is regulated by the Irish Revenue Commissioner in Ireland.
In Curacao, there is more than one license class. The same goes for Malta. Sweden, Denmark, Canada, Australia, etc. countries also have their own iGaming regulatory commissions. It all comes down to you finding the right license at the right time.
Deposit and Withdrawal Methods at the Best Bookmakers Ireland
Most rookie punters don’t sweat the payment methods enough. In our opinion, they should. Because it’s the payment methods that are actually bridging the gap between you and the bookmaker. So, it’s kind of obvious that you need reliable and safe payment options.
The thing with payment methods is that the availability can change quite drastically from country to country. And the same goes for Ireland. So, it’s better not to get hung up on the name and focus more on the features.
Your primary target should be to find an online bookmaker that offers at least one payment method you have access to. Otherwise, you will have to sign up for a completely new method just for betting purposes.
Also, it’s best to stick to the methods that are widely accepted across the world. Visa or Mastercard for example. Pretty much every country around the world offers Visa cards through local banks. If you happen to have a Visa debit or credit card in Ireland, you’re already one step ahead.
When it comes to sports betting, you usually get a plethora of options to choose from. Without naming names, let’s take a look into the categories of the methods.
The most commonly used online payment method as well as the most commonly accepted one at online bookmakers. No matter what country you live in, if online gambling is legal in your country, you’ll get credit or debit card deposits and withdrawals.
This is an extremely safe method for transactions with relatively low or no fees. However, the withdrawal processing usually takes between 3 to 5 days. So, it’s not suitable for instant transactions.
The most convenient method for online betting by far. E-wallet transactions are instant for both deposits and withdrawals. Although they come with higher fees in most cases, they’re still worth it as you save a lot of time. Also, you can use e-wallets to pay merchants or send money to friends and family in the Ireland.
Prepaid methods, whether cards or vouchers are considered the most convenient way of depositing. They’re fast, they’re safe, and they don’t need any banking details from you. The only drawback is you can’t withdraw with a prepaid method.
Although not very common for deposits, bookmakers often allow withdrawals through bank transfers and wire transfers. Ideally, they’re the safest because they have the bank’s security measures to back them up. However, they’re the slowest in terms of processing times. It may take up to 7 days or even more for you to receive your money.
Types of Sports Betting in Ireland
The internet has made the world smaller than we could ever imagine. Now, we don’t have to step a foot outside of our home to collect any information. The craze of globalization has also influenced the iGaming industry.
As a result, pretty much all major sports events are at your fingertips for betting. Whether you prefer football, cricket, handball, ice hockey, golf, snooker, futsal, or anything else, the bookmakers in Ireland can provide you with the necessary markets.
Based on the sports and the available events, we can categorize the betting paradigm into two different categories. The pre-match betting and the in-play betting.
These are bets that you have to lock in before the event rolls out. Outright bets, man of the match, or man of the tournament are some of the markets that go into pre-match betting. They usually offer great odds. The drawback is that you can’t change anything on your bet slip once the bookmaker calls off the betting.
Also known as live betting, it has changed sports betting for the new generation of punters forever. It’s a relatively new trend and bookmakers in Ireland are exceeding our expectations in every way. When you go for live betting, you can place new bets and settle previous bets when the match is still live!
The odds are usually not that great for these markets but we can’t complain about it at all. Live betting has opened up a pandora’s box for punters who look forward to recouping losses from pre-match bets.
Bookmakers with Apps (iOS/Android)
Thanks to the advancement in mobile technology, punters in Ireland are no longer stuck on desktops for betting. They can use their smartphones to access the websites directly. Moreover, plenty of bookmakers offers downloadable apps for both iOS and Android.