While sharing the Hispaniola island with Haiti, this Caribbean country named the Dominican Republic is home to beaches, resorts, glamorous hotels, golf courses, rainforest terrains, savannah lands, highlands, the Caribbean’s tallest mountain Pico Duarte, the Gothic Catedral Primada de America, and – most especially – extensive, luxurious casinos. There are even more attractions, but the country’s gambling industry is probably one of its strongest branches.
The Dominican Republic started its journey when Italian explorer Christopher Columbus discovered the Caribbean region in the 15th century. The region was inhabited by the native Taíno people until Christopher claimed it as the Spanish Island for the Spanish Crown. Later, the region was renamed, Latinized as the Caribbean.
From the 15th century until 1821, the Dominican Republic was known as the Spanish Captaincy General of Santo Domingo. However, there was a break from 1795 to 1809 when the territory was a French colony. The country was then unified with Haiti as Hispaniola from 1821 to 1844. In the latter year, the Dominican Republic became independent and a republic known as Santo Domingo. This was as a result of the Dominican Independence War fought to gain freedom from neighbor nation Haiti.
However, the Spanish once again occupied the country from 1861 to 1865 and the United States occupied it from 1916 to 1924. Throughout these years, gambling did not have its way to the public. In 1999, gambling was officially introduced to the country when it was first regulated according to Law 351, a presidential decree. Before then, there were many illegal gambling facilities operating within the country. After the regulation in 1999, sports betting was further legalized and regulated in 2006.
What makes the Dominican Republic unique is its open and autonomous gambling rules. For one, locals can participate in all the legal forms of gambling. Also, online gambling is flawlessly legal. In fact, online sportsbooks have been technically legal since as far back as 1964. Nonetheless, other forms of online gambling were made legal in 2006. In 2011, the law was further amended to enrich the country’s online gambling industry by allowing a regulatory body – the Secretaria de Estado de Deportes, Educacion Fisica y Recreacion – to issue licenses.
It is safe to say the Dominican Republic has the biggest gambling industry throughout the Caribbean. This is as a result of the dedicated legalization, regulation, and promotion of most forms of gambling activities and facilities in the country. Therefore, casino gambling is legal and there is an enormous number of casinos to prove this. While the exact number of casinos within the country is hard to pin down, there are approximately 88 gambling facilities widely known.
The Dominican Republic is apparently the Las Vegas or Macau of the Caribbean. Almost all hotels and resorts within the country offer casino gambling because it is a big market. Tourists, visitors, residents, and natives enjoy a great variety of gambling activities.
Concurrently, tourism is a major player in the country’s economy. So, the country has one of the most tourist-friendly environments in the whole world – and described as fun, glamour, and glitz. Tourists and visitors no matter where they are from will surely enjoy this part of the Caribbean.
The total 88 gambling facilities within the Dominican Republic are located in a total of 12 cities. More than half of those facilities are situated in Punta Cana and Santo Domingo. Santo Domingo is the capital city of the Dominican Republic and offers 23 casinos but the largest gambling city is Punta Cana, with a total of 32 casinos, thousands of gaming machines, and hundreds of table games.
Santiago de los Caballeros and Puerto Plata are the runner-ups, boasting seven casinos each. The next-in-line is Boca Chica with six casinos. There are four casinos located in Bayahibe. La Romana, Río San Juan and Sosua each offers two casinos. Las Terrenas, Higüey, San Pedro de Macorís, and Cabarete all offer a casino each.
Dominican Republic’s gambling industry is filled with 87 casinos and a single racetrack. Most casinos – if not all – in the Dominican Republic include luxury resorts and hotels. More casinos include hotels, however, because Law 351 requires casinos to be incorporated in hotels. Moreover, hotels offer casinos as an addition to their attractions.
The casinos offer popular and less popular casino gaming machines and table games such as slot machines, blackjack, poker, craps, baccarat, roulette, Caribbean Stud poker, 3-card poker, Let it Ride, mini-baccarat, poker plus, Texas Hold’em, Wheel-of-Fortune, and billiards. Also, the Hipódromo V Centenario racetrack is used for horse races and many more equestrian competitions.
The Lotería Nacional Dominican is the national lottery providing numerous lottery draws. In contrast, the country offers more lottery operators since lottery is not a state monopoly like other countries. The Lotería Electrónica International Dominicana, S.A. Locals (LEIDSA) provides online lottery draws.
Further, online gambling is surprisingly regulated and licensed in the country. This is surprising because other Caribbean countries do not regulate online gambling. And although the country’s stand on the regulation of online gambling operators is difficult to factually state, Amaya Gaming Group received a license in 2011.
Therefore, gambling on local or offshore online casinos, bookmakers, bingo providers, poker providers, or lottery operators is perfectly legal in the Dominican Republic. Additionally, the Bitcoin cryptocurrency is popularly used in this part of the Caribbean. In fact, the largest casino throughout the length and breadth of the country – the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana – not only accepts Bitcoin but they offer discounts on Bitcoin transactions.
Below is a list of all casinos currently operating in the regions of Dominican Republic.
Aloha Sol Hotel and Casino
Atlantis World Casino Santo Domingo at Crowne Plaza
Aurora Del Sol Hotel & Casino
Avalon Casino Punta Cana
Barcelo Bavaro Beach – Adults Only
Barcelo Bavaro Palace
Barceló Bávaro Casino
Barceló Santo Domingo
Bavaro Princess All Suites Resort, Spa & Casino
Be Live Experience Hamaca Beach
Be Live Experience Hamaca Garden
Be Live Experience Hamaca Suites
Breathless Punta Cana Resort & Spa
Casino Diamante Punta Cana Grand
Casino Majestic Punta Cana
Casino Mirage – Santo Domingo
Catalonia Bavaro Beach, Casino & Golf Resort
Catalonia La Romana
Catalonia Royal Bavaro
Catalonia Royal La Romana All-inclusive Hotel
Catalonia Santo Domingo
Club Bahia Principe
Coral Costa Caribe Resort, Spa & Casino
Coral Hamaca Beach Hotel & Casino
Coral Sol de Plata Resort, Spa & Casino
Diamante Casino – Santiago
Dominican Fiesta Hotel & Casino
Dream Casino at Be Live Collection Punta Cana
Dream Casino at Crowne Plaza Santo Domingo
Dream Casino at Hotel Dominican Fiesta
Dream Casino at Hotel Riu Palace Macao
Dream Casino at Playa Dorada
Dream Casino Malecon
Dreams La Romana Resort & Spa
Dreams Palm Beach Resort & Spa Punta Cana
El Embajador, a Royal Hideaway Hotel
El Millón Casino at Hotel Riu Bachata 5
El Napolitano Hotel & Casino
Excellence Punta Cana
Grand Bahia Principe La Romana
Grand Bahia Principe Resort & Casino San Juan
Grand Paradise Casino Playa Dorada
Grand Palladium Palace Resort Spa & Casino
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana
Hideaway at Royalton Punta Cana
Hipódromo V Centenario
Hodelpa Centro Plaza Hotel
Hodelpa Gran Almirante Hotel & Casino
Hotel Casino Niza
Iberostar Dominicana Hotel and Casino
Kviar Casino at Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa Complex
Kviar Lounge & Casino Santo Domingo
Kviar Show Disco & Casino
Kviar Show Disco & Casino Bayahibe
Kviar Show Disco & Casino Puerto Plata
Kviar Show Disco & Casino Punta Cana
Luxury Bahia Principe Ambar Blue Don Pablo Collection
Majestic Elegance Punta Cana
Matum Hotel & Casino Diamante
Meliá Caribe Tropical
Now Garden Punta Cana
Now Larimar Punta Cana
Occidental El Embajador Hotel and Casino
Ocean Tower Casino at Ocean Blue & Sand Golf & Beach Resort
Paradise Plaza Casino – Santo Domingo
Paradisus Punta Cana Resort
Platino Hotel & Casino
Playa Chiquita Resort & Casino
Princess Tower Casino
Ramada Santo Domingo Princess Hotel
Renaissance Santo Domingo Jaragua Hotel & Casino
Santo Domingo Princess Casino
Sea Horse Ranch
Sky Casino Punta Cana
Sosua Bay Grand Casino
Stanza Mare Resort
Sunscape Dominican Beach Punta Cana
The City Inn Hotel & Casino
The Reserve at Paradisus Palma Real Golf & Spa Resort All Inclusive
TRS Turquesa Hotel
– In the Dominican Republic, the minimum gambling age is 18 years.
– The largest casino in the Caribbean is the Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas, while the second largest is Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
– The Dominican Republic has the largest and richest gambling industry in the whole Caribbean.
– The Classic Juan Pablo Duarte is one of the many competitions held at the Hipódromo V Centenario, named after a neighborhood hero.
– In 2011, Amaya Gaming Group got the nation’s very first online gambling license. However, they are still the only company with an online gambling license in the Dominican Republic.
– Casinos in the Dominican Republic accept and promote the use of Bitcoin, most notably the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana.
– Casino gambling is the most popular form of gambling in the Dominican Republic. Auto racing and lottery is also popular. Racing of horses and dogs are not as popular. Other sports betting are not popular as well.
– Cockfighting is legal in the Dominican Republic.
– The Lotería Nacional Dominican is the national lottery which has been providing numerous lottery draws since the year 1882. The lottery was founded by a priest native to the Dominican Republic.
– While the Secretaria de Estado de Deportes, Educacion Fisica y Recreacion is in charge of the licensing, regulation, monitoring, auditing and securing of all sports betting operations within the country, the Casino Department of the Ministry of Finance takes care of casino gambling activities.
– The country’s economy largely depends on gambling.