Gaming Market Insights Series #10: Dominican Republic — Gambling haven of the Caribbean islands

Located on the Hispaniola island, along with Haiti, Dominican Republic enjoys over 80% land as highly fertile soil, whilst only about 17% of the labor force are engaged in farming. Agriculture has been the top economic pursuit on the island, followed by mining, trade, and services.

Economic growth

Chart. Year-on-year changes and annual average variation of economic activity (unit: %). Source: Dominican Republic Central Bank and FocusEconomics calculations

For the last two decades, the Dominican Republic has been one of the fastest-growing economies in the Caribbean with an average real GDP growth rate of 5.52 percent from 1992 until 2016. The economy is projected to grow by 5.8% and 5.0% in 2016 and 2017 respectively. The country is also recognized among the world’s top 15 in the Ease of doing business index tally in Latin America and Caribbean area reported by World Bank Group’s Doing Business project in 2016.

Tourism and gambling industry

The most important sector of the economy is service. Thanks to the plethora of tourist attractions, Dominican Republic has been a magnet to tourists all around the world, which in turn generates ripple effect to the gambling industry of Dominican Republic.

Dominican republic is one of the few countries in the world where most types of gambling are legitimate. There are currently 35 legal land-based gambling facilities in 12 cities. Though gambling opportunities had previously been entitled to foreigners only, currently locals are also allowed to visit and play at gambling establishments.

The country’s national lottery was started in 1882 by a Dominican priest. To improve competitiveness and promote business on the island, the government has opened up this field to non-state companies. There are several lottery draws such as: National Lottery, Leidsa, Lotek and Loto Real, and each type offers different drawings on simultaneous basis. Online lottery is also available at LEIDSA or Lotería Electrónica Internacional Dominicana. Locals are allowed to freely participate in lottery draws on international online lottery sites accessible to Dominicans.

Gaming paradise in the Caribbean for offshore companies

Dominican Republic is increasingly becoming a leading Internet gaming jurisdiction in the Caribbean area. Any gaming company that wants to operate gambling here must register under the International Business Company Act of Dominica and apply for the license, the whole process of which usually takes from one to two months following valid and adequate document submission. The applying company is exempt from all local taxes and levies and import duties on merchandises required to facilitate its gambling business. With liberate policies and regulations on gambling, Dominican Republic has unveiled its ambition to be recognized among top gambling and tourism havens in the world.

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