Tuesday 1 February 2011


By Mick McCloskey

After nearly two years of public consultations, the Irish Governments Department of Justice and Law Reform has now published a discussion paper entitled “Options for Regulating Gambling.” From my understanding of the document, it seems that the department is generally in favour of reform of the current laws and of setting up a system to control and licence local and online operators. Their general opinion is that trying to outlaw gaming, especially online gaming is, based on the evidence from the USA, a non starter. The department would look to set up a body to control and to licence casino operators and casino employees in Ireland. It would also look at the possibility of regulating online gaming sites with a view to making Ireland a base for remote gambling operations. It makes a case for the employment and taxation opportunities that would arise from investments by such online gaming sites.

In addition, the report looks favourably at the possibility of allowing one or more Resort Casinos to be licensed in Ireland. The definition of a Resort Casino is along the lines that it should probably include a hotel with facilities such a golf course, a Spa and an entertainment centre, as well as a casino, all on the one site.

While all of this looks like good news for supporters of legalised and available gaming it will all be up for debate in the Irish Parliament at some stage and will be the subject of a vote by the politicians in power at the time, probably after a general election in the country. I’m not sure that the legalisation of gaming would be top of the agenda for a lot of the politicians but, the possibility of additional taxes for the cash strapped Irish economy may be enough to sway the vote in favour of reform.



This festival, scheduled to be held in Castlebar, Co. Mayo from 24th to 27th February is a new addition to the Irish tournament circuit and features a 3 day main event with a buy in of €300 + 40. The venue is the Breaffy House Resort and the main event starts at 4pm on Friday 25th February with a guaranteed prize pool of €40,000 and a 15,000 starting stack with 60 minute levels. A full programme of side events has been included. Boylepoker.com are sponsoring the event and full details can be found on their website. Boylepoker.com are also running online satellites and have facilities for buying into the tournament online.

What the website does not tell you is that Sunday night at the venue is pretty much party night. The main activity, apart from the poker, is a charity boxing tournament to raise money for the local boxing club and the Mayo/ Roscommon Hospice. This is not your usual boxing tournament as it will feature a total of 6 bouts between some well known Irish poker players, casino owners and tour operators. There could be a few grudge matches here! Names on the card I have so far include the Eglinton Casino’s Fintan Gavin, fighting in the heavyweight division obviously, Neill Kelly of Big Slick Poker and Liam Delaney of Celtic Poker Tour. Experienced referees and corner men will be provide by Castlebar Boxing Club and fully trained ambulance crews will be on standby.

After the blood has been mopped up off the canvas, the boxing ring will be used for the final heads up battle for the first Western Open title and, after that there will be live music and, more than likely a little drinking to be done to while away the night. This sounds like a fun way to round off the weekend so you may want to think about booking your room for Sunday night and giving work a miss on the Monday.


Last month I included an item in my column indicating that The Grosvenor UK Poker Tour intended to hold a leg of the tour in Ireland in September. I have now been told that this leg has had to be postponed due to quite a bit of tournament congestion in Ireland that particular month. The Unibet Open, the Poker Stars UKIPT and the Shorthanded Championship are all scheduled for around the same time. The GUKPT organisers really only had the one available spot in September so they have decided to look at another date in 2012 instead. I will let you have details of any revised dates as soon as I get them.

If you have any news, views or events, you can contact me by email to mickymccloskey@hotmail.com