As a people, the Gaels have had an unprecedented history of gambling within Great Britain. Whether it’s the bingo halls of Ireland or the wagering gentry of Scotland, the Gaelic countries have made a profound impact on gambling and how it is shaped today. In fact, this tradition continues today through modern means. All this and more has been explained below, where you’ll find three Gaelic contributions to gambling in Britain and beyond.

The Largest iGaming Sites

Let’s start with the most recent impact that Gaelic nations have had on the British gambling scene. For that, it’s simple – some of the largest iGaming websites in the world were founded and/or settled with Ireland as their headquarters in the last few decades.

Dublin tends to be the location of choice for some of these company headquarters, which operate internationally. Through the internet, these sites have made new kinds of gambling possible through different games that can take on many themes and digital art styles. In some cases, like the British online casino found at, they landed in Dublin after merging with an Irish counterpart. Their sites are some of the largest, not just based on visitors or brand status, but also on the number of games on offer.

The Gaelic culture in Ireland is also home to a lot of unique luck-based imagery that you won’t find elsewhere in Britain. For example, the four-leaf clover or the Leprechaun are chance encounters that reward someone with luck or a pot of gold. Naturally, this imagery is very popular in online gambling games or even by whole brands.

Part of Ireland’s history with gambling comes from the acceptance of bingo by the Catholic church at parish halls – as shown on As a result, bingo halls were the centre of many communities and still remain some of the liveliest venues. Scotland shares a fascination with bingo, better known as housie in many Scottish communities.

The Wagering Lairds of Scotland

Through the Dál Riada, Scotland was exposed to the Gaels during the 6th century. Over time, the Gaels and the eastern Picts merged to form the Scottish Gaelic culture of northern Scotland, as opposed to the southern Scots who were influenced more by the English. This is the Highland-Lowland divide, where the modern differences between the Scottish Gaelic and Scots languages come from. At a glance, the Gaelic languages look similar while Scots has more identifiable roots in English.

Renfrewshire is historically part of the Lowlands, though its western positioning may have seen more Gaelic spill than other, eastern regions. However, it’s the Highlands that are the source of many historical dramas – specifically the Highland clans and their power struggles – see This is often where we find a tradition of wagering land (and the castles and estates on them) through games like faro or betting on horseracing.

The 1600s onwards was a golden age of gambling in Scotland, especially the Georgian era. Figures like Robert Campbell, 5th Laird of Glenlyon, sold away portions of the Great Caledonian Forest after wagering. Betting on political events and unusual feats was more commonplace during this period. The best case of this is found with Robert Barclay Allardyce, 6th Laird of Ury, who walked 1,000 miles in 1,000 hours for 1,000 guineas. Nowadays, that would be worth somewhere over six figures.

Over time, the practice of wagering land or selling it off to cover a wager trickled down to the Lowlands too. However, the later 19th century saw an end to a lot of this as the aristocracy lost a lot of land and influence due to other factors, like the solidification of Britain’s modern democratic government taking priority over rule by landed nobility. As a leisure activity, gambling remained across all social strata and has thrived in the internet age.