Ireland is made up by the majority of an island directly west from England. It's located south of Northern Ireland. To the east is the Irish Sea, and in all other directions is the Atlantic Ocean.
Ireland is one of the countries that got the biggest headstart when it came to licensing online gambling sites. Explicit legalization was first given in 2003, and they had sites operating from Ireland since 2004. They have an interesting history of how they have tried to handle taxes and other fees when it comes to their licensees, and they've largely settled on a simple license-based fee along with very small taxes on gambling wins.
One thing that's worth pointing out is that Ireland has been looking at how they handle online gambling to be more closed off to foreign operators, much like the United Kingdom after licensing changes that were made in 2014. This seems to be the fashionable route to go these days, and with how Ireland likes to stay ahead of the curve with online gambling, it's not unlikely that we'll see them make some major changes.
For the time being, licensing is based on the idea that sites have to get a license to operate in Ireland before they can offer their games. The problem with that is that they have no real enforcement mechanism at all, and this goes for both the companies doing the betting and the players. For tax reasons, many companies would prefer to operate from outside of the country. These tax “loopholes” and other issues are the motivation for revamping how licensing is handled in the country, but what they really need at this point is a way to enforce some kind of ban on unlicensed sites. Otherwise, any other action will be futile and irrelevant.
Something that's really good about how Ireland handles online gambling regulation is that they are very serious about protecting their players. They have no problem whatsoever with pulling a license if there is sufficent evidence for doing so, and they have shown more than once that they are serious when it comes to player complaints. Overall, they also have measures in place to give players help who want it when it comes to compulsive gambling and other gambling-related issues like money management.
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