The Dominican Republic embraces gambling as an integral component of its large tourism industry. Brick-and-mortar casinos can be found at many tourist resorts as well other locations across the country. Both tourists and locals are allowed to partake in casino gaming, sports betting, poker and the national lottery. The legal age for gambling in the Dominican Republic is 18.
Online gambling, poker and betting are legal and regulated in the Dominican Republic. Citizens may access local or offshore betting sites as they wish. The government has regulated various forms of online gaming since 1999 but few companies have gone through the licensing process due to its expense and the fact that there are no effective legal repercussions for offering games to citizens without the proper license.
Best Dominican Betting Sites
All the well-known international betting sites offer their services in Spanish and accept Dominicans. Most of these are not licensed in the Dominican Republic, so some caution is recommended in choosing where you play. Ideally, you should stick with sites that have licenses from other jurisdictions. Here are a few of the best international sites for citizens:
The Dominican Republic urges companies to get a license before offering their services to citizens. However, there is little incentive to do so because the government does not take active measures to prosecute unlicensed gaming sites or block access to them. This does not mean you’re stuck playing at completely unlicensed and unregulated online casinos.
Since there are no quality betting sites based out of the DR at this time, your best option is to play at international sites with licenses in other countries. The UK is one of my favorite licensing jurisdictions due to its strict gaming laws and enforcement of regulations. Other jurisdictions that I trust include Alderney, Antigua and the Isle of Man.
Can I Deposit in the Dominican Peso?
No. The largest gaming sites tend to stick with internationally traded currencies such as the US dollar and Euro. That does not mean you’re out of luck; these sites are perfectly capable of converting your DOP deposit into USD, EUR or any other major currency.
You can make a deposit by signing up for an account at any of the above gaming sites. Choose the USD or EUR as your primary currency when prompted. When you log in to your account and visit the cashier, you’ll see a list of deposit methods that can be used to fund your account. Choose any of the available methods and you’ll be guided through the process of depositing.
If you have access to a bank account with US dollars, you can also use credit cards and bank wires to make a deposit. MoneyGram and Western Union are accepted by some betting sites and both of those methods are available in the DR. Cash transfers work well if you have actual cash on hand.
E-wallets such as Neteller, Skrill and Click2Pay are the easiest methods if you have a local bank account. All you have to do is sign up for an account with any of these e-wallets and then use it to send and receive money from your bank account. There will be a small percentage-based fee when sending or receiving Dominican pesos.
Dominican Republic Gambling Laws
The Dominican Republic’s gaming laws fall under the purview of the Dirección de Casinos y Juegos de Azar (Directorate of Casinos and Games of Chance) which itself is managed by the Ministerio de Hacienda (Ministry of Finance). This commission is responsible for issuing licenses to casinos, lotteries, bingo games, sports betting parlors, slot machines, charitable raffles and other games of chance.
The Directorate also prepares licensing reports, supervises licensed activities, suspends licenses and prepares legislation for the gambling industry. The Loteria Nacional (National Lottery) oversees the national lottery which was established in 1927. Proceeds from the lottery are used to fund charitable causes and social programs. The Dominican Republic is proud of its lottery and actively works to protect the integrity of the lottery as an institution.
Current gambling laws now restrict all potential brick-and-mortar licenses to owners and operators of first class hotels in areas that are popular for tourism. Locals are allowed to participate, but it’s clear that the Dominican Republic places an emphasis on the tourist market rather than the domestic market.
Anyone making an application for a license is required to submit documentation that describes the business plan, games to be offered, betting limits, operating hours, finances and more to provide authorities with a clear look at what the applicant has in mind and how capable the applicant is of hosting responsible gambling.
Internet gaming was first addressed by Dominican law in 1999 and then updated in 2006.Two laws, Ley 139-11 and Ley 494-06, form the legal framework for online gambling licensing. Only one company has received a license to date. This was Amaya Gaming in 2011. However, Amaya is not a casino operator itself; it is a “solutions provider” to the online gambling industry.
Currently, online gaming in the Dominican Republic is regulated more in theory than in the real world. The laws are there but with no major company opting for a license, the industry is largely unregulated. The government needs to simplify the licensing process and reduce taxes and fees if it hopes to compete with other jurisdictions that work harder to attract international gaming companies.