Underage Gambling in Ireland 2024

Strictly speaking, when gambling in Ireland, you must be 18 years old, irrespective of whether you're placing a bet at a brick-and-mortar or online casino. Responsible gambling measures must be adhered to by all online casinos. However, keep in mind that in some situations, a land-based casino may require you to be 21 in order to participate in any of their activities.

Underage gambling is a concerning issue in Ireland that calls for close attention, especially in the context of the thriving casino industry.

The ease of access to online betting platforms and the allure of casino games can inadvertently attract underage individuals, putting their financial stability and well-being at risk. In this article, we will be tackling all that you need to know about underage gambling and how one can encourage a healthy relationship with online games.

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This page is written by
Farah Jassawalla
Farah JassawallaResponsible Gambling Specialist
Fact checked by
Rebecca Mackay
Rebecca MackayHead of Content
According to our Editorial Guide

What Is Underage Gambling?

Minors using gaming and betting services is known as underage gambling. Most countries, including Ireland, restrict gambling under a specific age, with 18 being the most common minimum gambling age.

However, in certain circumstances, gambling activity is also restricted to 21 years of age. This means that, in these specific instances, if you're over 18, but under 21, this will still be classified as underage gambling.

Why Is It Important to Know Your Customer?

Know Your Customer (KYC) is a critical process for online casino businesses for several important reasons:

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Regulatory Compliance

KYC procedures help online casinos comply with anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorism financing (CTF) laws, as well as age and identity verification regulations. By verifying the identity of their customers, online casinos can demonstrate their commitment to responsible and legal gambling, avoiding underage and problem gambling. 

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Fraud Prevention

Implementing KYC measures helps online casinos detect and prevent fraudulent activities such as identity theft, credit card fraud, and bonus abuse. 

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Responsible Gambling

Online casinos have a social responsibility to prevent underage gambling and protect vulnerable players. KYC procedures allow them to confirm the age of players and identify those who may be struggling with gambling addiction, enabling early intervention and responsible gambling measures.

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Customer Safety

Protecting the personal and financial information of players is crucial for online casinos. KYC helps create a secure environment by ensuring that customer data remains confidential. 

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Reputation & Trust

Implementing KYC measures builds trust among players as they are more likely to choose casinos that prioritise their safety and security.

The legal age to gamble in Ireland is 18+. This gambling age applies to both slots and table games such as baccarat, blackjack and roulette. It is also applicable to both online casinos and land-based casinos. 

How Can You Prevent Minors From Accessing Your Betting Accounts?

Preventing minors from accessing betting accounts is a crucial responsibility for online casinos in Ireland to ensure they comply with regulations and protect vulnerable teens. Here are some effective measures an online casino can implement to restrictions on their slot machines and other games:

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Age Verification

It's crucial to ensure strict age verification processes during the account creation phase. Request official identification documents, such as passports or driver's licenses, to confirm the customer's age and ask additional security questions. 

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Geolocation Tools

Implement geolocation software to verify the player's physical location. This can help ensure that players are within the legal jurisdiction for gambling and further reduce the chances of underage people accessing your site.

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ID Checks for Withdrawals

Require identity verification when players attempt to make withdrawals. This helps confirm the player's identity and age before releasing funds.

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Regular Monitoring

Continuously monitor player accounts for suspicious or inconsistent behaviour. If a person exhibits signs of underage gambling, take immediate action.

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Parental Controls

Offer tools and guidance to parents and guardians to help them monitor and restrict their child/ren's access to gambling websites.

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Responsible Gambling Education

Include educational materials and tips on responsible gambling on your website. This can inform players, including minors, about the risks associated with gambling and help avoid underage gambling.

Websites & Software To Prevent Underage Gambling

Preventing underage gambling in Ireland requires a combination of tools and resources. Here are some websites and software apps that can help online casinos and gambling operators in Ireland only to allow adult gamblers to your website:

Age Checked

AgeChecked is a service that offers age verification solutions for online businesses. It provides age checks through various methods, such as ID document verification, mobile verification, and credit card checks.

agechecked prevent underage gambling ireland

Jumio

Jumio is a well-known provider of identity verification and authentication solutions. Their services can be integrated into online casino platforms to verify the age and identity of players and restrict children from accessing your casino website.

jumio underage gambling at online casinos in ireland

Gamban

Gamban is a software tool that blocks access to gambling websites. While it's primarily designed for anyone who wants to self-exclude, it can also be a useful tool for parents or guardians to prevent minors from accessing gambling websites.

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Net Nanny

Net Nanny is a parent control software that can be used to restrict access to gambling websites and other potentially harmful content.

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CyberPatrol

CyberPatrol is another parental control software that allows parents to block access to online gambling sites.

cyberpatrol prevent underage gambling ireland

What Are The Risks of Underage Gambling?

Underage gambling carries significant risks, the first being financial consequences. Someone who is underage will lack the financial maturity and understanding of risk that adults have. As a result, they are more likely to experience financial losses and debt, potentially leading to long-term financial problems. Adolescents are also more susceptible to developing an addiction, more specifically to drugs and gambling, due to their still-developing brains and a lack of impulse control.

On the other hand, gambling can distract minors from their studies and social activities, leading to poor academic performance and strained relationships with friends and family. Lastly, minors who experience gambling-related problems may suffer from mental health issues like depression and anxiety and these issues can persist into adulthood.

Why is Gambling Appealing to Minors?

All of these risks and yet gambling is still appealing to minors. Why is that? Firstly, teens often succumb to peer pressure. If their friends or peers are gambling, they might feel the need to also do it themselves to fit in. The excitement and thrill of gambling can be appealing to young individuals who seek novelty and excitement.

The fun of a win or a loss in a game can also be exciting for teens. Online gambling platforms and sports betting sites are also easily accessible, and minors may stumble upon them while using the internet or YouTube. Young people are also exposed to gambling advertisements and endorsements through social media, a random subscribed newsletter, sports events, and celebrities, making it seem like a socially acceptable activity.

Finally, some adolescents turn to gambling as a way to escape from personal problems, stress, or boredom. The hope of winning at a game of chance may provide a temporary distraction from the world.

What Are The Signs That Your Child Is Gambling?

We have uncovered a few indicators that your child may be participating in gambling activities:

  • Frequent and unreasonable money requests

  • Playing and committing to games that need certain purchases

  • Unexpected receipt of funds, or, conversely, unexpected loss of funds

  • Successive lies about their cash source or daily investments

  • Reluctance to participate in age-appropriate activities or events that once provided them with joy

  • A considerable decrease of interest in daily activities and school obligations and changes in their behaviour

  • Investing a significant amount of time in watching gaming and gambling-related videos

How Can You Encourage Healthy Screen Time?

Encouraging healthy screen times in children involves setting appropriate guidelines, fostering a balanced digital lifestyle, and promoting responsible use of technology. Here are some strategies for parent/s to encourage healthy screen time:

  1. Establish specific guidelines, such as the amount of time allowed each day

  2. Lead by example and demonstrate responsible screen time habits by limiting your own device use and prioritising face-to-face interactions

  3. Designate certain areas in your home as tech-free zones where screens are not allowed

  4. Encourage your child to engage in educational and age-appropriate content

  5. Promote a well rounded lifestyle by encouraging physical activities, hobbies, and spending time outdoors

  6. Teach your child about online safety, including privacy settings, the importance of not sharing personal information, and recognising online risks

  7. Maintain open communication with your child about their online experiences, friends, and activities

  8. Make it a habit for screens to be turned off at least one hour before bedtime to improve the quality of sleep

Learn More About Gambling & Responsible Gambling

Underage Gambling FAQs

Can you gamble before turning 18?

No. The legal gambling age in Ireland is 18. Some land-based casinos may require you to be 21.

What are the common signs that someone underage is gambling?

There are many tell-tell signs. Common signs that someone underage is gambling include:

  • Frequent visits to gambling websites or establishments.

  • Unexplained loss of money or valuables.

  • Borrowing money or asking for loans.

  • Sudden changes in behaviour or mood-related to gambling.

  • Neglecting responsibilities, such as school or work, due to gambling.

Are there penalties for underage gambling in Ireland?

Yes, there are penalties for underage gambling in Ireland. Both the individual underage gambler and the gambling operator can face fines and other legal consequences. The underage gambler may also be referred to counselling services to address any gambling-related issues.

How can I prevent underage gambling in my establishment or online platform in Ireland?

To prevent underage gambling in Ireland, it's important to have robust age verification procedures in place. Online gambling operators should use age verification tools, and physical gambling establishments should request valid ID from customers who appear underage. Additionally, providing educational materials on responsible gambling can help raise awareness and deter underage individuals from participating.

The author is a seasoned writer who has been working independently for over 7 years. Farah Jassawalla is our responsible gambling specialist. She has a passion for providing the latest ...continue reading

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