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iGaming Caribbean Paradise: A Comprehensive Offshore Jurisdiction Guide

In the past, the Caribbean was anything but a place to relax. Piracy, colonization and warring states trying to hold their supremacy in these waters, were the norm and those who had time to enjoy the beautiful sunsets were the ones at the gallows.

Of course time has changed and pirates no longer seek fortune in those waters.

However the Caribbean has become something more than a cruise stop for tourists.

iGaming Caribbean Paradise: A Comprehensive Offshore Jurisdiction Guide: eAskme
iGaming Caribbean Paradise: A Comprehensive Offshore Jurisdiction Guide: eAskme
 

Other people are reading:  Gambling Under Regulated Vs Offshore Jurisdictions: Facts To Consider

It is now a place where cutting edge services towards banking and gambling has become the source of myth and interest for many interested to explore new ventures.

Although the term offshore has achieved certain notoriety because of movies and certain scandals, in the Caribbean
many countries offer very appealing gambling licenses that not only can be less demanding in their requirement, but also gain the reputation for being responsible,  transparent and with the add-on benefit for low to none taxation over incomes.

If you are looking to build your gambling empire, the following list will give you the necessary insight to see under which jurisdiction flag, you will depart for new adventures.

Antigua & Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda is a twin-island nation located in the Eastern Caribbean. Besides its touristic appeal the country has been famous for its rum, postal stamps and extremely low inflation rates (0,4%).

Since 1994 Antigua and Barbuda became one of the first iGaming jurisdictions in issuing licenses for online operators.

After its economical switch to tax haven in the 2000, it quickly became one of the largest hosts for several non Gamban casino sites available in the United Kingdom.

The Directorate

To apply for a license, operators must address the Antiguan Directorate of Offshore Gaming (the “Directorate).

As Internet gaming companies in Antigua and Barbuda are classified as “Financial Institutions” they are also subject to all the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) requirements of the jurisdiction.

Licenses

The licensing and regulations are handled by the Financial Services Regulatory Commission's Division of Gaming.

The FRSC Gaming Division awards two types of licensees:

  • Interactive gaming: casino and poker sites. Cost for issuing the license will  set you back for $100,000 american Dollars.
  • Interactive wagering: sports betting sites.  $75,000 USD.

Additional fees such as a $15,000 non refundable deposit  is required to submit the applications.

After 60 days if the license is approved, operator can proceed to pay their licenses plus an annual monitoring fee of $25,000.USD

Renewal of the license will have a cost of $5000 USD per annum.

Social Responsibility

The Directorate is aware that they license and regulate a service that is not always viewed favorably.

But is under this regard, that the Commission have the social commitment to exceed international standards of best practice and collaborate with other igaming  jurisdictions globally towards preserving and safeguarding the health and welfare of online players worldwide.

Curacao

Curacao like many former European colonies in the Caribbean has enjoyed a much stable economical and political status that allowed the country not only to offer the benefit of its pristine waters and incredible hosting quality for tourists and websites, but also providing operators an all inclusive license.

Curacao eGaming

The maximum authority for iGaming in the jurisdiction is adjoint service under the Minister of Justice.

The organism is very friendly towards gambling ventures to the the point that they can also offer you a  turn key operation if you have the necessary interest and money,

Licenses

The Curacao eGaming authority issues two types of licenses, a master key and a lesser one, but all have shared the same benefit of covering all types of gambling forms, from its development to addressing the service to online audiences.

The cost of the license is not fully disclosed but will allow any interested party to have its own operation for less than $30,000 USD in just a couple of weeks.

Yearly license renewals have a cost of $1000 USD and a taxation of 4% of the gross income.

Social Responsibility

In the advent of online gaming back in the nineties Curacao was the first nation to issue iGaming licenses for anyone with mires on having its own online casino, poke room and sportsbooks thanks to its lax enforcement.

But the same lax attitude leaves customers completely alone and at mercy of scam or rogue operators that will only get prosecuted after the damage has gone further lengths.

Aruba

Another constituent nation of the Netherland kingdom, Aruba boasts crystal clear water, a great dutty free regime and a lively casino life.

Just like all the Antilles nations Aruba also  provides an inclusive all-in license for operators willing to establish their operation in the island.

The Departementen voor Casinowezen (DAC)

Like all the jurisdiction under the Dutch kingdom the DAC is part of the Ministry of Justice and is the responsible for both land-based and online betting, contrary to Curacao where they are governed by different agencies

Licensing

The Aruba license is one of the easiest to obtain and prices is another bargain for those wanting to perform in the industry.

Like in Curacao me into types. a master license and a sublicense that can depend from the master license umbrella.

Cost for these licenses are not disclosed but it is known that casinos have to pay 5000 AF (roughly $2,800 USD) and 4% of their gross income.

Social Responsibility

Regulations in Aruba are a source of rancid debate.

While brick-and-mortar casinos are subject to heavy controls that include daily inspections, enforcement of regulation for online operators are in another realm.

The license itself, more than a competency certification acts like a work permit for operators. The DAC norms for approving their licensee are too broad and operators are more likely to be self-regulated between them rather than the DAC.

This has led to a worse reputation than Curacao to the point that customers alone go away when they see this jurisdiction.

Dominica

For many years Dominica has attracted its visitors thanks to its spectacular mountain ranges along with the beauty of the Caribbean coast.

But in recent years, its growing tourism industry, an emerging offshore financial sector and a well reputed gambling jurisdiction has impulsed the nation to become a top choice for those seeking an operator's license form one of the most reputed jurisdictions.

Casino Department of Ministry of Finance

The Dominica casino department of Ministry of Finance is quite progressive as it allows licensees to operate with cryptocurrencies without laxing all the regulation and requirements adhered such as National Anti-Money Laundering Regulations, Unusual Transaction Acts, Counter-Terrorism Financing regulations. All standards from the Caribbean Community.

License

Initially covering sports betting the Dominica license expanded to almost every game of chance to the benefit of all the interested parties.

Applicants must be an International Business Company (IBC) who are charged with a one time fee of 15,000 USD for the license.

A fee of 5% or $50.000 if greater is the cost for annual operations. Which is  a great deal there no doubt why +25000 lotteries have based their operations in the country.

While the license covers several types of gambling, these must be stated at the beginning of the operation.

Each additional form of gambling has an additional cost of $15,000 USD for the first request with the followings at $10,000 USD each.

Social Responsibility

Dominica’s complying with the Caribbean community financial  regulations, protects the gambling industry from unscrupulous actors who look to fund criminal activities within the territory.  

Complying with the license terms from operators is made through strict audits that rivalize top tier jurisdiction, as they pretty much dissect every operator’s financial, and betting historical profile  from each customer and ensuring that only non-dominica resident adults are safely enjoying their services.

Saint Kitts and Nevis

Consisting of two islands in the West Indies and with a population of 55,000 people , the nation of  Saint Kitts and Nevis is the smallest territory in the Americas.

Despite its little size, the gambling scene is robust enough to attract more than 150,000 tourists every year to get daze with its beaches or adrenaline field high stakes casinos.

iGaming operators are also here for a piece of the action.

Saint Christopher and Nevis Gaming Board (The Board)

Since 1999 The Betting and Gaming (Control) Act regulates the gambling Industry.

The Gaming Board is responsible to determine which individuals and corporations are permitted to conduct gambling activities in the island.

Regulations from The Board were so effective that even its licensees were allowed in the US.

This was until  the Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 changed the gambling ecosystem.

But instead of lowering the standards, regulations in Saint Kitts and Nevis went even harder and accepted.

Licensing

One of the great attractions of the Saint Kitts and Nevis jurisdiction is the simplicity of its regulation. One license for all activities, land based, online or both, they all yours.

In order to receive a license, an initial concession fee of $80,000 USD, is required

Applicants must also cover a $2,000 USD filing fee, and if approved an  annual gaming tax of $40,000 USD

Despite its demanding requirements, response times from the Board  are quick as it can take from 4-6 week to have a response over your application.

Social responsibility

Operators cannot leave any loose knot on this regard. Several regulations such as the National Anti-Money Laundering Regulations, Unusual Transaction Acts, Counter-Terrorism Financing regulations and Know Your Customer policies are the ones any gambling business must comply if they want to keep under the St Kitts and Nevis jurisdiction flag.

Audits are also conducted on a regular basis. From financial transaction and betting historical of players, to the Gaming System, Licensees must be accessible  to third party auditor evaluations to ensure that all the license terms are met.

The Bahamas

The Bahamas has been pictured in many movies as the destination for hidden wealths and evil masterminds who enjoy the nosebleeds.

The reality is pretty much different except for the last.

Pampering gamblers of all stakes for over a century, is not a surprise that online gambling licenses are also  available for those capable to comply with its legal, and financial requirements.

Gaming Board for The Bahamas

The Board is responsible for regulating all licensed gaming and related activities that are offered by casinos and gaming house operators in The Bahamas.

In November 2014 The Gaming Act, 2014 (the “Act”) was brought into force to modernize the gaming regulatory regime in accordance with international best practices.

This has established a comprehensive framework for the licensing and regulation of the gaming industry and elevated the standing of The Bahamas as a leading gaming jurisdiction.

License

Among the eleven licenses offered the gaming house operator is the most commonly used for online operations, as tit allows all gambling forms.

However, conditions are pretty demanding but definitely worth the expense thanks to the add-on taxation benefits from operating in the island.

  • License fee, a whooping $250,000 USD each year
  • 15 percent for the first twenty-four million dollars of taxable revenue for the tax period and,
  • 17.5% on any taxable revenue exceeding twenty-four million dollars in the tax period.

Social Responsibility

Problem Gambling awareness and self exclusion have very deep roots in the Bahamas  gambling regulations.

Staff from land based operations have the reputation of addressing themselves to customers with signals of compulsive behavior.

Except for encouraging a self-exclusion program of 1-5 years little is know if the same actions towards online patrons are executed,

On the other hand, financial transparency is demanded and audits are carried frequently to prevent any deviation towards money laundering and exploitation of customers.

Dominican Republic

Although not considered a tax haven for financial and gambling services the Dominican Republic has attracted an extensive number of igaming operators.

Its political stability, top tier telecommunication services, VAT and income tax exemptions, along with its natural beauties, there is no doubt that gambling along with tourism are the driving forces of the national economy.

Dirección de Casinos y Juegos de Azar. (Casino and Chance Games Direction)

The Direction is the regulatory body in charge of ensuring every land based and online gaming operation meets its requirements and is under the Ministerio de Hacienda (Treasury) whose minister is the one that makes license approval.

After legalizing gambling in 1999 the industry exploded with several  operations spawning around the island landscape.

After online regulation entered in effect  In 2011 The stars group (former Amaya Gaming Inc) was the very first licensed operator in the country.

Contrary to the norm, lotteries are not a state monopoly which explains the presence for more than 24000 lotteries thriving in the country.

Sports Betting on the other hand, seems to be a sector near to disappear as there is no current law allowing the creation of new land or online establishment.

License

There are two types of licenses for online operators:

  1. Online lotteries: RD$ 10,000,000 (roughly $172,000 USD)
  2. Online Casinos: RD$ 10,000,000  (roughly $172,000 USD)

Other requirement for the license are:

  • A clean criminal record for all of the associates,
  • Operations must be held within the Dominican republic territory
  • Bank statements proving being financially solvent.
  • Approvals for licenses usually take 4-6 months.

Social Responsibility

Land based gambling is heavily regulated with several busts over illegal operations. But there is a world of difference when addressing the subject to online providers.

Besides not allowing licensees to target local residents and the underage worldwide.

Except for money laundering and terrorist funding activities there is no major enforcement from the Direction on this regard.

Considerations

After reviewing cost, legal requirements and international markets penetration each gambling jurisdiction has its own particularities that makes the decision to base your operation not an easy one.

Offshore operations do have greater benefits over traditional Licensing.

If you are an aspiring gambling entrepreneur the decision to choose one usually implies having to move to your operation ground . Something that not many are willing to undertake.

But before deciding on trading your winter coat for straw hats and shirts, several considerations must be weighed before making a leap.

1. Check all the laws regarding, gambling, finances, and migration.

 Usually there are several conditions such as being a resident to be allowed to move or create a company in your desired jurisdiction.

These processes must be considered as they can consume more time and resources than expected, delaying the start of your venture.

2. Create a base of legit connections.

Before embarking to an adventure complete alone, start contacting the responsible agencies and regulatory bodies that can help you get more information and contacts to go through all the complying process of having your own online gambling business

3. Think of hiring a reputable gambling consultant.

While I encourage a DIY course of action, having an iGaming consultant specialized in these territories on your side will be of great help to undergo all the legal loopholes.

The service won't be a cheap one so be sure you are looking for a reputed expert on the field.

Many local and international scammers thrive on the unaware.

Don’t be one of them.

Disclaimer:

Despite existing many other territories in the Caribbean recognized for their buzzing gambling industry, several are unregulated towards iGaming.

Some might even provide you a legal  license, but advantages are so low that even the dirt cheap cost of them won justify all the risk of having a start-up even more if it's done in foreign land.

If you still have any question, do share via comments.

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