The Luck of the Irish | Dublin’s Great Casino Scene
People wouldn’t normally think of Dublin as a city that has an abundance of casinos like Las Vegas or Macau or even London. Yet the Irish capital has a number located in the city centre, although a lot smaller in size to the cities mentioned above. Casinos in Ireland operate as “private members clubs” as technically casinos are strangely neither legal nor illegal.
Visitors interested in going to one of Dublin’s casinos will be asked to become “members”. This usually involves filling out a membership form at reception during your first visit. Some type of identification will also be required (usually passport or driver’s license) and you will likely have your photo taken as required by law. Most of the casinos in Ireland have a joining fee ranging from €10 to €40 depending on the place. Some offer free bets for your first or future visits that you can play. Once the paperwork is completed you can enter the main casino floor.
Casinos in Ireland generally offer the same games that you would find elsewhere. Expect to see Roulette, Blackjack, 3 Card Poker (which in Ireland is called Brag), Punto Banco (which is the most popular Baccarat game) and Poker (cash & tournament). The dress code is usually casual or semi casual.
Opening times are 6pm to 6am, give or take an hour or two. Most of the action generally takes place from 9pm to 3am. ATM’s are available in all the main casinos if you want to withdraw cash at the club. The other option would be to withdraw funds directly from the cashdesk at a casino using your credit card with friendly staff happy to assist. Slot machines are technically not allowed in Dublin casinos, although you will find some in arcades and similar locations.
If you are interested in dining at the casino it’s worth noting very few have a large, sit down, 3-course menu. Because of space restrictions most offer simple and quick dining experiences that will keep you from going hungry. There are a huge variety of fine dining restaurants in Dublin for a separate night out if that is what you are thinking. The last thing to note is that it is illegal for casinos to sell alcohol to players in Ireland. Some clubs will have a policy of no alcohol while others will have complimentary beers for players. There are pros and cons to both approaches so choose yourself the kind of experience you want.
With all that in mind, Dublin’s casinos are certainly worth a night out. Dealers are friendly and welcoming. Whether you visit for one hour or a whole night, staff members will be happy to tell you how things work. When finished playing, ask reception to ring you a taxi to take you back to your hotel. Win or lose if you have enjoyed yourself your night out will be a success. Moderation just like everything else is the name of the game. Maybe the luck of the Irish will rub off on you.