Although it is clear that the introduction of online gambling has encouraged a huge increase in the number of people in Ireland playing gambling games online, there has also been a smaller increase in the numbers gambling on sports and sporting events. Here in Ireland we have of course always been huge fans of sports gambling, particularly gambling on horse racing so the fact that the increase in the numbers gambling on sports online is less than the number who have started to get involved in online casino gambling should really come as no great surprise. When the big bookmakers first decided to offer their customers the opportunity to place their bets online rather than through their local betting shop, it was so convenient that almost every sports gambling fan with access to a computer took advantage of it. Since then of course technology has moved on and we can now access the internet through a much wider range of devices so that not only can more of us easily do all our sports gambling online, but we can also access the sports gambling sites from our mobiles wherever we are. The improved internet access resulting from this new technology has obviously encouraged more of us to enjoy our gambling online rather than through the betting shops, but there is also another reason why the number of people enjoying sports gambling online has increased, and that is the huge increase in the range of sports and sporting events we can now follow online. Internet retailers along with a wide range of other businesses trading online have a huge advantage over their high street rivals, because there are very few space limitations associated with what you can offer on a web site so they can always offer more options than anyone operating solely from an actual building. Look at any of the online gambling sites we feature on our recommended list here at gambling.ie and you will see what a huge range of gambling options we now have. This is most obvious when comparing the number of casino gambling games featured on these sites compared to what is available at any real casino in Ireland, but it is also true of the sports gambling opportunities we now have on all the big sports gambling sites. We all remember the betting shops which were only able to offer odds on horse racing or greyhound racing, and where even gambling on football was very limited. Nowadays we can access gambling odds on almost every sport that is played anywhere in the world, including many which have never been considered to be particularly popular sports in Ireland. This vast range of sports and sporting events has naturally introduced many active fans of what we used to call minority sports to the start to enjoy gambling on those sports, which has consequently also contributed to the increased customer base of the online sports gambling sites.
As we have already suggested, the introduction of online gambling sites has provided us with a much greater choice in our sports gambling activities, but here in Ireland there is no doubt that our favourite gambling activity is still the sport of horse racing. Horse race meetings such as Cheltenham still have the power to almost empty the country as we flock to the course, and the money wagered at these big meetings seems to break records every year. Gambling on greyhound racing is also now very popular online, and many people think that this may have helped the resurgence of interest in greyhound racing we have seen over the last few years. Not that many years ago an evening at the dog track was probably more popular among some communities in Ireland than horse racing, and it was certainly much cheaper. Unfortunately as our expectations of an evening out moved on, investment in the greyhound tracks did not and greyhound racing became almost dead as a sport. That trend has thankfully been reversed in the last few years and following significant investment in the hospitality facilities at all our greyhound tracks an evening watching and gambling on greyhound racing is becoming increasingly popular again. Both of these sports are however still totally dependent on the support of the sports gambling public, whereas football for instance is not. Gambling on football is now one of the biggest gambling activities all over the world, yet the finances associated with football have absolutely no relationship with how much money is gambled on the sport. In the higher leagues of football worldwide, even the matchday attendances are not that important because most of their money comes from television broadcasting rights. Another sport which could also be moving in that direction is cricket. Gambling on cricket is not that big in Ireland, but in India it is by far the most popular sports gambling activity and definitely their national sport. Television rights are again the primary element of financing the sport in India and there is now further interest elsewhere in the shorter formats of the game.
We have already commented on how online sports gambling has encourage more interest in what are generally considered to be minority sports, but any report on new areas of sports gambling options in Ireland cannot ignore our GAA sports. As far as we here in Ireland are concerned the GAA sports are of course not considered to be minority sports, but elsewhere in the world hurling and football are not widely followed except among the many expats. Online gambling has however raised the profile of these national sports both here in Ireland and elsewhere in the world. It has also brought sports from other parts of the world to our attention, particularly basketball and American football. Even baseball has seen a significant increase in the number of us gambling on the games. The same is true of other sports which many of us do play, and gambling on golf and snooker for example has also increased since online gambling became widely available.