Ireland’s gaming industry is huge, and only getting bigger! What’s stopping you from getting involved?
Ask anyone outside of Ireland what they think the country has to offer and you’ll invariably hear talk of whiskey, Guinness, green fields, and perhaps the odd Aran Sweater thrown in for good measure.
But what very few people know is that the amid all greenery and shamrocks, there’s actually a thriving gaming industry that has a whole lot to offer.
From casinos to eSports, there’s a whole industry in Ireland that even Irish folk don’t know a lot about. And it’s thriving like never before.
The casino industry
The Irish have always had a love of cards, and we’ve even produced some great poker players over the years. But even so, it’s not all that often that you’ll hear a group of Irish friends talking about heading down to the casino.
Yet, surprisingly enough, there are about 20 bona fide casinos dotted across the country. The majority of these are based in Dublin.
Still, there are also card rooms and fully-fledged casinos in Cork, Limerick, Galway, and yes, even Castlebar!
As you may have guessed, the slot machines are often the big earners at casinos, but the live poker scene has also played its part in the demand for card rooms.
Believe it or not, poker tournaments take place in practically every major town and city at least once a month even if there’s no casino in the area. So the demand is certainly there.
Interestingly, it’s not just the live casino industry that has flourished in recent years. With the rise of mobile gaming, the online casino industry has also found something of a niche on the Emerald Isle.
Industry heavyweights such as PokerStars Casino are proving to be surprisingly popular, given that the market is so small.
No doubt this is helped by the range of games they have on offer and the bonuses, such as free spins on the slots.
The convenience of playing everything from roulette to blackjack in your pyjamas in the comfort of your own home has proven too hard to resist for the average Irish punter.
And speaking of the online world, we come to our next niche.
The eSports industry
Like the online casino industry, the rise of eSports can be tied into mobile gaming. In 2020, there are now around 3.6 million smartphone users in Ireland.
That’s a massive chunk of the nation’s population. So it should come as no surprise that this increased exposure to gaming has resulted in a shift in attitudes.
As more people come online, more people play games on their smartphones.
This shift in attitude has seen the eSports industry in Ireland grow at a phenomenal rate. Incredibly, a recent study shows that 22% of Irish adults now either participate in or watch eSports.
Not only that but the country now has an eSports governing body, a famed eSports festival, a college eSports League, and several professional teams that compete at international events.
We’re just waiting for the calls for eSports to become an Olympic sport so we can win a medal at anything besides boxing and horse riding.
The opportunities are there for the latest up-and-coming talent to develop. Companies like communications giant Three are pushing the eSports envelope helping bring the local game to new heights.
Their EStars tournament is Ireland’s biggest eSports event and has seen the industry catapulted into mainstream media.
As the industry gains more traction, the opportunities to play at a professional level will only increase and, to be honest, that’s a crazy thing to imagine for a country with such a tiny population.
So, as you can see, there’s a whole lot more to Ireland than leprechauns and budget airlines, but we knew that already, right?
Seriously though, with such a massive percentage of the adult population involved in one or even both aspects of the gaming industry, it’s only a matter of time before we produce an Irish gaming world champion.
Now that would be a real turn up for the books.