Online Gambling Industry in the Caribbean

| May 13, 2020

A look at the past

From majestic brick-and-mortar casinos in the Bahamas and Puerto Rico to online casinos, the Caribbean has it all. When it comes to online casinos, all of it started in Antigua and Barbuda back in 1994, through the passing of the Free Trade and Processing Act. This act effectively allowed companies to apply and be granted licenses to start online casinos. This is an industry that has grown to become one of the most valuable industry sectors in the world, in a relatively short time frame. The global online casino industry is expected to be worth more than $100 billion annually by 2025.

Many other Caribbean nations have followed suit and opened up liberal licensing regimes. Foreign companies apply and receive licensing to provide gambling services online. The main reason why Caribbean nations are offering this is that online gambling activities are very lucrative and bring large tax revenues to the respective nation. Most notably is the Curacao license which is very popular for European countries due to the ease of obtaining it, the favorable conditions of maintaining the license, and its good reputation. When compared to US licenses and European licenses, the Caribbean licenses are easy to obtain, something that has sometimes attracted companies that turned out to be illicit. This together with events unfolding in relation to the Panama Papers and blacklisting of tax havens, has brought some bad PR to Caribbean licenses through the years.

A look at the present

Photo courtesy Fair Observer

Today these licenses are still popular and are mainly used for an online casino that operates in grey markets. A grey market means that gambling in a country is a legally grey area. This means that it’s technically forbidden to offer online gambling in a certain country, at the same time there is no way to prohibit foreign companies to offer their gambling services online to players in that country. At the same time, there is usually no law prohibiting people from playing at these websites. In some countries there are laws that explicitly say that citizens are not allowed to play in online casinos, however, there is no enforcement or way to detect if a citizen is playing which makes it difficult for authorities to enforce the law.

Through using a remote gaming license such as the Curacao license, a company can operate an online casino and accept players from non-regulated markets. The license itself serves as valid proof that the company is legitimate and winning payouts are guaranteed. In addition to this, a company has to abide by a set of rules and guidelines outlined in the license requirements, some of these include having a Responsible Gambling policy in place and proved and tested a fair outcome of all games offered in the casino. In return, the company is able to contract with gaming providers and payment providers and effectively have an operational casino where players can be safe and know that their winnings will be paid out.

A look at the future

With the current coronavirus keeping people inside their homes, the online gambling industry is seeing a spike in an already positive growth trend. The expected positive growth in the future is mainly due to the increased accessibility of internet connection and handheld devices, enabling people to play in online casinos anywhere and at any time of the day.

Some countries around the world are imposing new regulations where online casino operators are required to have a specific license issued by the local government to operate. Naturally, this should prohibit online casinos with a Caribbean license to offer their services in those markets, but at this point in time, there are no ways of stopping citizens to gamble at such casinos. In addition to this, there are still plenty of grey markets for Caribbean licensed casinos to operate in. So in either which way you look at it, the Caribbean will continue to be at the forefront of online gambling in years to come.

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Category: African Caribbean, Culture & Society

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We provide news and information for anyone interested in the Caribbean whether you’re UK based, European based or located in the Caribbean. New fresh ideas are always welcome with opportunities for bright writers.

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