The success of online gambling, whether it is online sports gambling or online casino gambling is not just down to the convenience of being able to gamble from home. It is also the result of the huge variety of gambling options available on most online gambling sites. The number of different gambling games you can now play at any of the online casinos is huge and seems to be growing all the time, but that sort of variety can also be found on all the online sports gambling sites operated by the big bookmakers. The sheer number of gambling options may not be the same, but very few sports or sporting events are not now quoted on most of the online sports gambling sites. Before the bookmakers began to introduce online gambling sports fans placing bets at or through their local betting shop would probably not see many sports being promoted apart from horse racing, greyhound racing and possibly football. These sports were almost the only sports gambling options available on a regular basis in our betting shops and very few other sports were even mentioned unless it was one of their really major tournaments such as Wimbledon or Six Nations rugby. Nowadays of course we can usually follow almost every sport and sporting event taking place even if it is on the other side of the world. The combination of satellite television and online sports gambling sites has created a situation where very few sports do not present us with all year round gambling opportunities online. Here in Ireland it is probably fair to say that gambling on horse racing is still the most popular sports gambling activity both at the track and online, but there has also been a resurgence in interest in greyhound racing over the last few years. In fact now that our greyhound tracks have been updated and their hospitality facilities improved a night at the races has become a very popular pastime for a wide range of people. Gambling on football in Ireland is slightly different because it appears that most of the football gambling activity concerns the English Premier League rather than our own local leagues. We are talking here about association football of course and not Gaelic football. The GAA sports are in fact among the biggest winners in terms of increased popularity as a gambling activity since the introduction of online sports gambling. Far more sports gambling fans are enjoying gambling on hurling and football since quoted odds on these sports became readily available online. It is sad to say but these specifically Irish sports hardly ever featured on our sports gambling radar before online gambling became widely available.
Many of the so called minor sports as far as gambling interest is concerned are still dependent on where they are being played and to what level. We have already mentioned tennis as being one of the lesser sports in terms of gambling interest, but during the Wimbledon Championships and to a lesser extent the other tennis Majors, gambling on tennis increases dramatically. The same sort of increase in gambling interest is also seen during the major snooker tournaments and more recently the increasingly popular darts tournaments we watch on our television screens. There can also be a number of other reasons why a particular sport becomes a major gambling activity temporarily rather than on a regular basis, and one of those is local success. Rugby is a typical example of how the success of the Irish international side has significantly increased the popularity of the sport as a gambling activity. In the case of rugby the provincial sides have also had a great deal of success over recent years and this has reinforced our supports for gambling on rugby. The same effect can also be seen when an individual Irish competitor becomes successful, as seen with Rory McIlroy and several other great Irish golfers before him. There is no doubt that gambling on golf and gambling on rugby has increased due to the success achieved by Irish players, and this even stretches to tournaments such as the Ryder Cup or a British and Irish Lions tour where the Irish players only play a part. Probably the most unlikely sport to have benefitted from this form of success is cricket. There is no doubt that cricket has never been a major sport in Ireland but the Irish team is suddenly on the verge of being granted test status and has even enjoyed success at the one day cricket World Cup. That success has also raised the profile of cricket among the sports gambling community and is perhaps one of the most surprising additions to our sports gambling options.
Most of the sports we have discussed to date are sports which are actually played here in Ireland, but another effect of the introduction of online sports gambling sites is that we can also follow sports which are not necessarily considered to be Irish sports. American football for example is becoming an increasingly popular spectator sport in Ireland, as is basketball and to a lesser extent even baseball has come to our attention since we were able to access the games on television and online. As we pointed out at the beginning of this article very few sports are not covered in some way by the big online sports gambling sites wherever in the world it is played. This worldwide access actually works in both directions of course. Whilst many of us here in Ireland are taking an increased interest in what are primarily American sports, Irish Americans and indeed all the other Irish expats scattered around the world also now have access to our GAA sports through the medium of television and the internet. Online sports gambling sites have undoubtedly completely changed the sports gambling scene here in Ireland and of course in many other parts of the world. How long before we start gambling on camel racing or dragon boat racing online. There is no reason why not.