The smallest county in Ireland has the highest concentration of betting shops.
Of the country’s 862 betting shops, Louth has the highest number per capita.
Its 33 betting shops equate to 2.6 outlets per 10,000 population, or 50% above the national average of 1.8 bookies per 10,000 population.
Other counties that have high concentrations of betting shops are Carlow, Westmeath, Longford, and Meath.
Sligo has the lowest proportion of bookies, with just eight in the county, or a ratio of 1.2 shops per 10,000 population.
Roscommon, Donegal, Clare, Offaly, and Wicklow also have proportionally fewer betting shops than most other parts of the Republic.
Cork has the third-lowest concentration of betting shops, at 1.4 per 10,000 population, despite having 78 shops, the second-highest number of outlets in the Republic.
Dublin has the largest number of betting shops, with 259 outlets, or a third of the national total.
The register of betting shops, which has only become publicly available since December, 2015, highlights how the gambling industry is dominated by a few large betting firms.
Combined, Paddy Power, Boylesports, and Ladbrokes account for 72% of all bookmaker shops in the country. Paddy Power has the largest physical presence, with 264 shops, which gives it a more than 30% share of all licensed outsets.
It is followed by Boylesports, which has 219 branches, and Ladbrokes, which has 143 outlets.
A few other operators have chains of shops in excess of 10 branches, including Bar One Racing, Bruce Betting, Harrington Bookmakers, Tully Bookmakers, Track Sports, and Bambury Bookmakers.
Mor than 500 betting shops have closed in the past decade, or 37%.
According to the Irish Bookmakers’ Association (IBA), total stakes wagered declined from €3.6bn in 2007 to €2.8bn last year.
That is a drop of 22%.
Sharon Byrne, who is the IBA chairwoman, said the difficulties in the sector had been felt by both large and small operators.
“Celtic Bookmakers went into receivership, Hackett’s went into liquidation, William Hill exited the Irish market, and Ladbrokes went into examinership over the past several years,” said Ms Byrne.
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