The casino market could see a significant boost in the Dominican Republic with the announcement that Grupo Globalia is looking to invest further in the market.
The owner of the company Juan José Hidalgo has created Riverbound Investment, a company which will look to invest in casinos as part of hotels which are already owned by the company and its partners. It will also look for other opportunities in standalone casinos on the island and casinos not currently owned by the group.
According to local press, the company is looking to gain a significant market share as it seeks to expand. Today the company runs casinos in its Be Live hotels the group’s hotel firm as well as the only stand alone casino on the island: the Dominicus. Globalia is Spain’s leading tourist group and Globalia’s investments in the Dominican Republic stand at more than US$450m.
The Dominican Republic already has over 30 casinos, more than any other country in the Caribbean, with the existing Hard Rock casino in Punta Cana being the largest. In August 2015 Spanish operator CIRSA announced that it was set to increase their presence in the Dominican Republic with the acquisition of the Grand Victoria Casino in the city of Santiago. In January this year Hard Rock International, revealed plans for its second hotel and casino in the Dominican Republic, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Santo Domingo, located in the capital.
However, illegal slot machines have proliferated widely over recent years and there are an estimated 10 to 30 thousand illegal slot machines located in bars restaurants and small businesses and illegal slot parlours. However according to the most recent data collected by The Directorate General of Internal Taxes (DGII) gaming revenues are dropping year on year amongst fears that illegal gambling is growing. Tax gaming dropped in 2015 declining by 6.7 per cent in the first four months compared to the same period in 2014. This is despite a number of crackdowns of late on illegal gambling and a thriving gaming industry.