Ireland has always been a hotbed of technological innovation, and has been quick to grasp new opportunities in the sector. This has been seen for the past 20 or 30 years, since the very beginning of the technological revolution. US companies were keen to set up Irish bases, in part due to the lower corporation tax, but also because of Ireland’s relative proximity to the US and the close cultural affinity that many Americans feel with the Irish.

Ireland and the online gambling industry

 When online gambling really started to take off, Ireland initially found itself at a rare disadvantage. The rules were unclear, and there was only the Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1957 to go by, but this appeared to make online gambling illegal. Unlike so many places, though, Ireland was fast to react, and the 2015 Betting (Amendment) Act was passed. This cleared the way for Ireland to join in the fray and today, it contributes to the dozens of new casino sites, like the ones listed at that are opening up with every passing week.

As the types of casinos, the ways in which we play them and the activities covered continue to evolve, this is a market that is growing and changing at an incredible speed. Think Virtual Reality, Cryptocurrency and eSports for just three examples of massive changes that could have a profound impact on the online gambling sector. And then, in the middle of it all, we have the specter of Brexit to deal with.

How will Brexit affect Irish industry in general?

According to research carried out on behalf of the Irish government, Brexit’s impact on the overall Irish economy will be somewhere between two and seven percent on GDP, depending on whether a soft or hard Brexit strategy will be adopted. However, it is worth noting that this report also suggests the industries that will be hardest hit will be food and agri, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, retail, air transportation and, most worrying, web businesses.

However, when you look at the online casino sector specifically, the answer is less clear cut, and Brexit could actually present something of an opportunity.

Brexit and the online casino sector

The point to keep in mind is that there are already all those gambling sites out there that we examined earlier. Take a closer look at that list. Many are UK based, but a whole lot more are from across Europe, typically Malta and Scandinavia. The biggest impact that Brexit is likely to have will be on these casinos that are based in other EU countries and are currently able to access the UK market. Most of them enjoy this access under a single license that allows them to operate across the EU.

Of course, when Brexit happens, they will need a new operating license from the UK Gambling Commission if they want to continue to get a slice of the enormously lucrative UK gambling market.

Irish businesses need to start to see the opportunities that Brexit could bring as well as the threats, and this is a perfect example. Ireland can look to exploit its unique position as gateway between the EU and the UK, particularly in the tech sector. The EU casino operators are constantly looking for new markets and better solutions. If Ireland grasps the nettle, it could establish itself as the place to be based to access the UK market. But that might only be the beginning.

Looking across the water both ways

Over recent months, the US press has been full of the Supreme Court ruling that American states can make their own decisions about whether or not to allow gambling activities. Many are rushing to enact laws that will allow both casino-based and online gambling, and this is going to open up enormous new markets for the existing online casinos and sports betting sites.

Once again, if it acts fast, Ireland can take advantage of the changing legislation to be at least a conduit, but ideally a global hub for the biggest players in the sector. For sure, Brexit is going to bring plenty of challenges and probably hardship. But as far as the online casino sector is concerned, this is an industry that is changing fast. The economy that is the quickest to react can reap the greatest benefits, and with its existing relationships with the US to the west, the EU to the east and the UK right next door, Ireland is perfectly poised to pounce.