Tourism has long played an important role in the economy of the Dominican Republic and lawmakers here have wisely chosen to take a relaxed approach to gambling regulation. Brick and mortar casinos dot the landscape and cater to both tourists and locals. Dominican casino sites are also quite numerous thanks to our government’s pro-gambling attitude.
Our gaming laws permit online gambling and do not restrict the world’s largest gambling brands from doing business with Dominicans. This means you have an entire world of online casinos to choose from, including the biggest and best names in the industry. Each of the following sites offers a full range of casino games, other forms of gambling (such as sports betting) and is available in Spanish:
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Although it is technically possible for local gambling websites to acquire licenses, the best online casinos in the Dominican Republic are run by large, international companies. Our laws do not require offshore sites to acquire a local gambling license, so very few gaming brands have gone through the trouble to get a local license. Most are instead licensed by the UK’s Gambling Commission, which is the world’s most respected gambling regulator.
If you prefer to do your gambling in Spanish, you will not have any problems finding an online casino to suit your needs. International casino sites offer their games in multiple languages with Spanish being one of the most popular options. The Dominican Republic may be a relatively small market in the grand scheme of things, but Spanish is so widely-spoken around the world that every major casino site offers its services in Spanish.
Dominican Peso Deposits
There are no online casinos that offer their games in the Dominican peso, but that will not affect your ability to play online. What happens when you deposit is the casino automatically converts your pesos into US dollars or another currency of your choice. Your gambling balance is held in that currency for as long as you play and is then converted back into pesos when you withdraw.
A typical sequence from start to finish would look something like this: you deposit in pesos, play in US dollars and then withdraw back into pesos. You will never actually have to deal with currency conversions on your own; Dominican casino sites handle that automatically each time you deposit or withdraw.
If you have any problems funding a gambling account with pesos, it is easy enough to get your hands on US dollars in the Dominican Republic. In the worst case scenario, you’ll have to exchange your pesos for dollars locally and then go online to deposit with dollars. All Dominican casino sites accept US dollar deposits.
Gambling Laws in the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a unique place in that gambling is legal and regulated, but the laws that cover gaming are not overly complicated. In most cases, countries with legal gambling have horribly complex gaming laws that are a mess to understand.
This is not the case in the Dominican Republic. The primary law regulating real world casinos in the Dominican Republic is Law 351 and a further amendment to that law called Law 24-98. Law 351 deals primarily with brick-and-mortar casinos and it requires owners to apply for a license.
To qualify for a license, any proposed casino must be located in a “world-class hotel” that is located in “a place of interest.” In other words, the Dominican government seeks to keep gambling associated with tourism. Locals are not prohibited from visiting tourist areas to gamble, but lawmakers crafted this law with the clear intent to keep the casino industry focused on tourists rather than locals.
A 2011 amendment to the law paved the way for the Ministry of Finance to issue licenses to online casinos in the Dominican Republic. However, just one company (Amaya Gaming) has received a license to date. The vast majority of online casinos simply accept Dominican players without establishing a local presence.
Ley 494-06 set the guidelines for licensing games of chance in the Dominican republic while Ley 139-11 clarifies tax issues related to gambling and directs operators of online casinos to apply for a license from the Ministry of Finance.
While these laws establish the groundwork for legal casinos in the Dominican Republic, actual regulation is limited. The industry is largely self-regulated, which works surprisingly well due to casinos and hotels relying on tourism from the United States and elsewhere. Local gambling operators are loathed to take advantage of tourists at the risk of missing out on the all-important tourism market.
Wes Burns co-founded OnlineCasinoSites.com with a mission to help gamblers understand and navigate the regulated online casino market in all countries around the world. Wes is a respected gambling journalist, working in the industry since 2008.