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Revamping iGaming: The Dominican Republic Introduces New Regulatory Framework and Blacklists Operators

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As it moves to overhaul its gambling regulations, the Dominican Republic has initiated a crackdown on unlicensed iGaming operators, effectively blacklisting numerous entities. This development is part of the Caribbean nation’s broader strategy to implement a stricter regulatory environment for online gambling. Minister of Finance, Jose Manuel Vicente, has recently enacted resolution 136-2024, introducing a revamped licensing regime and establishing the Dirección de Casinos y Juegos de Azar (DCJA) as the primary regulatory body for the gaming sector.

This shift towards a more regulated market is the culmination of a comprehensive review process, which recommended the introduction of licensed iGaming operations within the Dominican Republic. Prospective operators are now required to apply for licenses through the DCJA, with fees set at around $350,000 for online gaming and $260,000 for sports betting licenses. Other iGaming services falling outside these categories will be subjected to a licensing fee of approximately $170,000.

Licenses issued under the new system will be valid for a period of five years and come with a stipulation that they cannot be transferred during the initial three years. Furthermore, to reinforce the local digital economy, licensed operators must use a .do domain for their operations. International companies seeking entry into the Dominican market are obligated to register with the Commercial Register and ensure their brands are recorded with the Office of National Contributions and the General Directorate of National Tax, although specific details on taxation rates have yet to be disclosed.

In alignment with the nation’s Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Terrorist Financing (CTF) regulations, the DCJA has taken firm action against unlicensed entities, resulting in the blacklisting of 41 online gaming operators. This list includes major industry players such as Betsson, Bet365, 888, PokerStars, and William Hill. With the impending roll-out of legal iGaming options, the DCJA is urging consumers to verify the legality of their chosen platforms to avoid engaging with blacklisted or unregulated operators.

The initiative to re-regulate the iGaming landscape marks a significant turn from the Dominican Republic’s previous regulatory efforts, which saw the issuance of a singular license to Amaya in 2006. The latest regulatory framework aims to rectify past oversight and lay the groundwork for a robust, legally compliant online gambling industry. This represents a crucial step in revitalizing the nation’s iGaming sector, ensuring it operates transparently and responsibly under the new regulatory scheme.

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