Whenever we consider what is important when choosing an online gambling site there are two things which always come to the fore. First and foremost must be the security and financial management of the site, followed of course by the range of gambling options offered by the site. The job of websites such as gambling.ie is to balance those two requirements and advise their readers on which online gambling sites provide the best match. Clearly the first of our requirements, that of good financial management and security is non-negotiable and we believe that all the online gambling sites on our recommended list satisfy that requirement completely. Assessment of a site for its range of gambling options is however not quite so cut and dried, particularly for those people who are primarily interested in casino gambling and would therefore probably be best served by one of the smaller specialist online casino sites rather than the big sites operated by the bookmakers. For the purpose of this article however we are going to concentrate on those big online gambling sites which offer a huge range of gambling options covering both sports gambling and casino gambling games on the same site. As we have already said all of these online gambling sites are operated by the big bookmakers, and all of them started out as exclusively sports gambling sites. The option to play casino gambling games was added at a later date to expand their appeal, but inevitably the range of games they offer will never compete with the specialist sites which have since become available. Online gambling enthusiasts therefore have a choice as to whether the convenience of a range of gambling options on one site outweighs the variety of gambling games available by registering with more than one site. Even if the choice is to go for one of the big sites operated by the bookmakers, we would argue that you should consider joining at least two sites so let’s look at what the big bookmakers are offering on their sites.
As far as Irish gambling fans are concerned the most well-known bookmakers are likely to be Paddy Power and Ladbrokes because these two companies have by far the biggest high street presence in Ireland. Paddy Power is of course also the only bookmaker mentioned on our recommended list which is actually based in Ireland. Over the years they have also developed a bit of a reputation for raising their brand awareness through a variety of sometimes questionable stunts, but they have always claimed to be what they call ‘punter friendly’ and regularly pay out on bets before the event ends to prove the point. Their online sports gambling site is second to none, with comparable odds and a wide range of sports including of course the GAA sports. The casino gambling section of the site offers a range of interesting gambling games which are mostly supplied by the software company Wagerworks, a well-respected casino software company within the sector.
Ladbrokes is probably our second biggest bookmaker in terms of profile, again due to a big presence on our high streets. We will have to wait and see whether that changes in the light of their merger with Coral, which is expected to force them to sell a number of betting shops from the combined estate of the two companies. In the meantime the Ladbrokes online gambling site offers a comprehensive range of sports gambling options, including the GAA sports of football and hurling, plus a range of interesting gambling games and an excellent poker site. These games are available in both instant and download format, and there is a twenty four hour bingo option which is also proving very popular.
Away from the bookmakers with large betting shop estates, Party Gaming specialises totally in offering online gambling options. Party Gaming offer their online gambling options under a variety of brand names, probably the best-known of which is Party Poker which has become one of the biggest poker forums in the world. To access the other gambling options offered by Party Gaming you need to register with Party Casino, from where you can then visit PartyGammon and Party Bets. For those who don’t know it is Party Bets which offers the sports gambling options provided by Party Gaming and they are surprisingly comprehensive.
Bwin is another of the specialised online gambling bookmakers which features on our recommended list. Bwin is an Austrian registered company which in common with many other online gambling companies is regulated and licensed by the Government of Gibraltar. As you would expect from the shirt sponsors of Real Madrid and Bayern Munich their sports gambling site covers a very wide range of sports, but for many observers it is the Bwin casino that stands out. The online casino is particularly praised for the poker tables which offer the chance to learn for very low stakes, and some more unusual games such as Yatzy and Mahjong. The Bwin casino site is also one of the best online casinos for the quality of the graphics associated with their games.
Another bookmaker which has been successful in the online gambling sector without a high street presence is 888 Holdings, and both the 888 sports gambling site and the 888 casino gambling section meet all the standards we now expect from our online gambling providers.
Unusual among the major bookmakers operating online gambling sites is Bet365. We say unusual because Bet365 remains a private family owned company. Some would argue that this makes Bet365 more likely to react to their customer’s needs than some of the large listed companies. Certainly the Bet365 online gambling site is again as good as any in the sector, and their sports gambling site is excellent for both the GAA sports and particularly Irish greyhound racing.
There is one other major bookmaker with an online gambling site on our recommended list, and that is Betfred. Betfred does of course have a growing presence on the high streets of the UK and Ireland, but it is also beginning to stake a claim for top billing in the online sports gambling and the casino gambling sector. The online casino is well worth a visit.