Dominican Republic To Cut Off Unlicensed Lottery and Sports Betting Operators

Posted on: August 24, 2022, 12:35h. 

Last updated on: August 24, 2022, 01:22h.

The Dominican Republic (DR) continues to revamp its gambling industry in an effort to prove that it provides legitimate operations. After warning a few months ago that lottery and sports betting operators needed to register, the DR is following through with its promise to cut off those who don’t.

Sports betting shop
A sports betting shop in the Dominican Republic advertises major US sports leagues. The country is drawing the line on entities that don’t register, threatening them with fines, closures, and possible legal action. (Image: Listin Diario)

The DR ran into trouble in May when allegations surfaced that a lottery draw was rigged. However, this past February, legislators already approved an initiative to begin a major reform. The alleged rigged draw served as a catalyst to give the issue more strength.

The new rules included the requirement that all lottery and sports betting operators needed to come forward and register in order to continue operating. The Ministry of Finance is now ready to begin forcefully eliminating those entities who have not complied.

Time’s Up To Come Clean

Initially, the operators had until April 18 to register. Later, the Ministry of Finance extended the deadline to May 30, before extending it again to June 6. These delays were the result of disorganized management within the National Lottery’s operations.

There was also friction between the government regarding the regularization process. For decades, legitimate operators followed the rules. However, there were also a number of those who didn’t.

Sports betting is legal in the DR. However, there was previously no significant oversight. As a result, a number of sportsbooks began appearing that never registered with the Directorate of Casinos and Gambling (DCJA, for its Spanish acronym).

Regularizing the industry essentially gave the latter group a free pass after operating illegally for more than 20 years. This, according to the National Federation of Lottery Vendors, was not acceptable.

The DCJA, part of the Ministry of Finance, has been working with all entities on both sides to increase compliance. It has been regularly updating a list of names that have already completed the process, and time is running out.

This past Monday, the DCJA issued its latest ultimatum. The deadline to register has passed, and there won’t be any more extensions. Entities that are not in compliance now face fines, seizure of equipment, forced closures, and possible legal action.

They could have some help tracking down those who refuse to conform. The DCJA is asking regularized operators to identify the illegal entities, which they’ll likely do since it benefits them in the long run.

Money For the DR

Since the DR began its crackdown, it has come to understand how big of an issue it had on its hands. There were 71,000 registered operators in July, according to the DCJA.

This means the DR eventually can start collecting more tax revenue. However, the National Directorate of Internal Taxes (DNII, for its Spanish acronym) isn’t seeing green yet. It stated recently that just because the entities have completed the registration process doesn’t mean that they are legal and are contributing revenue.

That process is on its way. The Ministry of Finance is going to work with the DNII to draft the necessary measures. Because there were so many unregulated entities operating in the country for so long, the DR has had difficulty determining how much revenue the regulated segment may hold.