One of the few things which has not changed from the very early days of human civilisation to the present day is our love of sports and competitive sporting events. From the gladiators of Roman history to the staging of the first Olympic Games in Greece, we humans have always enjoyed watching and taking part in athletic competition in various forms, and it is only the sports and sporting events themselves that have changed. Many of our modern sports are of course not very different from those first competitive events. Boxing and wrestling for example are in principle very similar to some of the fights staged in the Roman arenas, although with less dire consequences for the loser, and some of our modern athletics such as the marathon events are almost exactly the same. Over the years we have also invented many more different sports through which we can compete with each other and test a variety of individual skills, all of which have established an enthusiastic following all over the world. When discussing our continuing love of sport in all its forms, we should also remember that gambling on those sports and sporting events has also been a major part of our history over hundreds of years. Until recently however the increasing variety of sports and sporting events which now form part of our daily lives has not necessarily been matched by a big increase in our sports gambling options. The reason for that is of course relatively simple, because before online gambling became generally available most of us did our sports gambling through a betting shop, and most betting shops tended to concentrate their efforts on a limited number of sports and sporting events. In Ireland for instance the biggest sports gambling activity has always been gambling on horse racing, with greyhound racing and football not far behind. That meant that our betting shops tended to focus on just those sports, and paid very little attention to most of the other so called minor gambling sports. Thankfully when the big bookmakers decided to follow the high street retailers and invest in the technology necessary to bring us the opportunity to do our sports gambling online, that decision also vastly increased all our gambling options. Initially the online gambling sites operated by the leading bookmakers were targeted at their existing sports gambling customers, but it wasn’t long before gambling games were being added to these sports gambling sites creating what we now term online casino gambling options. The one thing that all of these new online gambling sites had in common was the huge variety of gambling options they offered. Suddenly we had access to quoted odds on a whole range of different sports and sporting events from all over the world, together with a similar huge increase in the number of casino gambling games we could also play online. In spite of this big increase in our sports gambling options, it is probably still the case that our favourite sports gambling activity here in Ireland is still gambling on horse racing, but even here the advent of online gambling has provided horse race gambling fans with access to a much bigger range of race meetings for them to bet on.
Before the introduction of online sports gambling most of the so called minor sports only really got a look in during the major tournaments. Golf for instance is a popular pastime in Ireland, but gambling on golf was only apparent during the major tournaments such as the Masters or the Open, in spite of there being a European Tour event almost every week of the year. The same applied to rugby, again a popular sport in Ireland but not one to interest sports gambling fans unless it was during the Six Nations tournament. Nowadays we can log on to any of the big online sports gambling sites and find quoted odds for almost every sporting event being held anywhere in the world. This has even changed the way we gamble on football. Clearly gambling on football has always been a popular gambling pastime in Ireland, but until the introduction of online gambling was mostly limited to the Northern Hemisphere season unless there was a World Cup or similar tournament. Irish football gambling fans now know almost as much about South American football as they do about the English Premiership, and they can now follow their favourite sport all year round.
One of the worries we heard being expressed when online sports gambling first started to become widely available was that it would spell the end of the high street betting shop, and may even significantly affect the attendance figures at the race meetings. The bookmakers tell us that the footfall in their betting shops has definitely reduced, but there has been no evidence of reduced attendances at horse race meetings or greyhound race meetings. In fact greyhound racing is seeing a huge increase in popularity and attendance since the tracks have been upgraded and modernised, proving that if you provide your potential customer with a comfortable and exciting experience they will continue to come along. It is a similar story with the introduction of online casino gambling, in that in spite of the increased gambling options and the convenience of being able to play from home the real casinos continue to prosper. Here at gambling.ie we have watched how online gambling has developed in Ireland and we have seen a number of interesting consequences as a result of those developments, some good and some perhaps not so good. We are sorry that the high street betting shop is under pressure from the popularity of online sports gambling, but we are also pleased to see that we still enjoy actually attending our favourite sporting events as well as following them online. We are particularly pleased to see the progress being made by the greyhound racing community in spite of all the prophesies of doom from critics of online sports gambling.