The Ministry of Finance of the Dominican Republic has destroyed more than 8,000 pieces of gaming equipment which were being used in illegal gambling operations.
The Head of the Casino and Gaming Control Board Oscar Chalas explained that the equipment was confiscated in 1,376 betting centres which had been found to be operating without proper authorisation nationwide. In all 663 slot machines were confiscated along with 2,138 monitors, 2,053 printers, 1,950 keyboards, 733 routers, 251 pieces of electronic payment equipment, 254 CPUs, and 100 inverters.
Mr Chalas explained that a total of 1,936 pieces of equipment will be donated to 10 non-profit institutions that carry out educational programs in neighbourhoods and vulnerable communities located in different parts of the country.
Mr Chalas said that it was the largest destruction of illegal gaming equipment in the country’s history and the second large scale operation carried under the present Ministry of Finance Donald Guerrero Ortiz.
“During the operations, which took place in December 2016 and January and February of this year, 1,251 betting centres were closed and 125 were given notice. The total amount of money retained during the operations and that were handed over to the National Treasury was RD$1,590,253,” Mr Chalas said.
The head of the gaming board pointed out that illegal gaming posed a significant risk to minors and for this reason sanctions are high.
“The sanctions, which are carried out in coordination with the Attorney General’s Office, are drastic for violators of the law, because children are the main victims, because they can become addicted to games,” he said. The official added that there are penalties in place that can lead to prison terms lasting from three months to two years.
Gaming revenues in the Dominican Republic are dropping year on year due to the rise in illegal gambling, tax evasion and an increasing tax burden on the operator. However, illegal gaming is the largest obstacles to growth. This is despite the fact that the gaming board has been increasing the number of on site inspections and closures.