Belfast is one of the great ‘gambling cities’ in the UK, including a wide variety of gambling and betting options. The capital of Northern Ireland has always been one of the most important gambling cities in Europe and it was one of the first places to embrace gambling when it became legalised almost 40 years ago. Nowadays, it is a home of some of the biggest bookmakers, most luxurious casinos and the thriving gambling market.
Belfast also has some of the best betting odds in Europe; some of them are so good that they’re hard to believe! And this quality gambling experience is not only available for local residents but tourists as well.
Casinos in Belfast
One of the best casinos in the city is Oasis Casino, which is located right in the heart of Downtown. It can be reached in two minutes from Belfast Central Train Station and it takes only five minutes to get there by taxi. Recently, Oasis Casino also installed a city centre or Grosvenor Casino Poker Room that offers luxurious accommodation with flat screen TVs, sofas and tables to play on.
Next great establishment is Ava Leisure, a casino site with a couple of locations in Belfast. Besides the excellent gaming services, guests can also enjoy the wide range of food and drinks.
If you seek something different. There is a company called Casino Nights which brings casino games to the private parties. They are available for: Birthday Parties, corporate events, charity balls and weddings.
The personalised casino service covers everything from your choice of venue to the design of the tables and décor. The staff is friendly and well trained with knowledge of all games played in casinos. Event guests will be entertained by professional croupiers by each table. Quite an interesting way to provide casino service.
There are a lot of smaller casinos spotted all around Belfast. In city pubs you can find fruit machines. It’s not a real casino but you can have fun or win something if you’re lucky. And the best thing is no membership is needed and it’s free to get in.
The gambling law in Belfast
Gambling is legal in Northern Ireland. There are some limitations in place to regulate the particular activity or location.
No registration is required to play games of chance on machines installed by local authorities, betting shops and licensed premises.
However premises where casino games and betting are offered must have a licence from the authorities. It is also prohibited to let underage gamblers. Belfast casinos are very sensitive and they will always check your ID to check your age. Irish people will let you in when you are above 18 but will look cautiously on you if you are still under 21 even though you are in a casino legally then.
Belfast people and their approach to gambling
Generally people from Belfast are more into betting than casinos. They usually place their bets on football, lottery or horse racing. Lottery is probably the most popular game and it’s easy to see why as there are many shops with lottery tickets all over Belfast. For those who like horse racing there are plenty of websites in Ireland where you can place your bets and numerous bookmaking offices around the city.
The amount of money put on bets yearly in Belfast
This is a difficult question to answer as it depends not only on how much people spend in betting offices and online bookmakers but also where they place their bets. If you look at the big picture, there are about 8 million Euros put on bets every week in Northern Ireland which give us about 6,8 million pounds. However, about £3 million pounds is placed in bookmakers’ offices while £2.7 million pounds are spent online which means that the online betting industry makes almost the same amount of money as traditional one.
There are many reasons for this. Firstly, younger generations like to bet using their computers or mobiles at home and they don’t want to walk into a bookmaking office that is crowded and sometimes filthy. Secondly, betting websites can always be opened and closed any time, you don’t have to stand for hours in a bookmaker’s office. You just log in if you want to bet and log out as soon as you are done.
Teams in Belfast
Talking about sports betting, there are few teams and sports you can bet on that are from Belfast. Of course, you can bet on football teams from Northern Ireland and the UK. One of the most important ones is Linfield FC, but Belfast city also has another soccer club. It’s called Cliftonville F.C. and was founded in 1879. Nowadays it plays in the first division of Northern Ireland Football League.
Irish people are also interested in sports like Gaelic football and rugby. Two most important teams from Belfast in these sports are Cliftonville GAC and Ulster Rugby.
Irish people from Belfast really like gambling and betting. The law does not prohibit such activities, their attitude is more like “if they do it, let them do”. There are a lot of betting shops in Belfast. You can play slot machines and many different gambling games in live casinos, an online casino/nettikasino or even in a pub. There are also companies who will move casinos to your private event and let your guests gamble during a party. Belfast is a great city with an excellent atmosphere and people and many opportunities to gamble with your money if you are into it.