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888Sport, William Hill, Bet365 and Betsson blacklisted by Dominican Republic

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More than 40 major operator brands have been blacklisted by the Dominican Republic ahead of the market preparing to re-regulate.

The announcement comes at the same time that the Dominican Republic has issued Resolution 136-2024. The resolution, signed into law on 26 March 2024, provides a new regulated framework for online gambling.

The new set of measures will be overseen by the Dirección de Casinos y Juegos de Azar (DCJA). The directorate is managed by the Ministerio de Hacienda (Ministry of Finance). As a result, it is responsible for issuing licences to online casinos and lotteries.

With a new licensing framework in place, operators who do not have a licence will no longer be authorised to operate in the country.

This is in accordance with Law (Ley) 155-17 – “Against Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism”.

Who has been blacklisted?

The DCJA, which is tasked with the supervision of games of chance in the Dominican Republic, has now issued a list of 41 operators that are barred from offering services.

These include Betway, Betsson, Interwetten, Betfair Colombia, Bet365, Mr Green Casino, 888Sport and William Hill.

In releasing its statement, the DCJA announced that: “We emphasise the importance of playing and betting responsibly and legally to guarantee a safe and fair experience.

“Therefore, we recommend always verifying the operator’s authorisation through official channels and avoiding participating in unregulated activities.”

Online gambling in the Dominican Republic

Online gambling was initially regulated in the Dominican Republic in 2006, with the first licence issued in 2011.

Notably, Amaya – PokerStars’ owner at the time – was the first to be issued with a licence. The company is better known as The Stars Group, which it rebranded to in 2017. Amaya was acquired by Flutter Entertainment in 2019.

Despite two laws, Ley 139-11 and Ley 494-06, forming the framework for online gambling in the Dominican Republic, Amaya has been the only owner of a licence to date. This meant that the law existed more in theory than practice.

As PokerStars is now featured in the DCJA’s blacklist – it can be assumed that the licence Amaya previously acquired has now expired.

Thanks to Resolution 136-2024, the Dominican Republic is now expected to bring about a more comprehensive framework for regulation. This will make the regulated market more competitive and, it would be assumed, boost state revenue with new entrants.

New Dominican Republic gambling regulation

Under the new law, each licence issued will be valid for five years and is non-transferable for the first three years.

The cost of of a casino licence is equal to $346,000 (£275,000/320,600). For sports betting, licences will cost $260,000 (£205,400/239,500).

A third licence for “other applications” is also available. While this has not been specified, it is likely to be for fantasy sports, poker and bingo verticals. This will cost $170,000 (£134,300/156,600).

The announcement follows the final initiation of the regulatory process on 28 February 2024. This was in the form of official letter of recommendation, DM-051-2024.

The process follows multiple iterations between June 2019 and March 2024. Totaling 36 pages, seven chapters and 36 articles, Resolution 136-2024 has now been signed into law by the minister of finance, Jose Manuel Vicente.

While taxation has not been listed in the resolution, the previous law (Ley 139-11) set a gross gaming revenue rate of 29% for land-based casinos. It is likely that this will be the same for online.

Foreign operators will be required to register the company in the country’s Commercial Register at the chamber of commerce and production (Registro mercantil).

Brands will also be required to register with the office of National Contributions (RNC) and General Directorate of National Tax (DGII).

All operators must also register a web domain of ‘.do’ for the Dominican Republic. All servers must also be hosted in the country. Operators are also required to go live within six months of the licence being issued.

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