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Dominican Republic – Sports betting shop numbers remain stable in Dominican

By - 10 April 2019

Offering new insights into the sports market in the second-largest Caribbean nation, the Dominican Republic’s President of the National Association of Sports Betting Shops Ricardo Nadal has said that the number of sports betting shops have remained largely unchanged for over ten years due to government policy put in place in 2016.

This policy banned the opening of any more sports betting shops until 2021. He explained that the largest operators in the area are Presidente, Merengue, Juancito, Gogo, JD, Dugout, Play, Bachata, and Maxis.

There are now 1,832 sports betting shops in the Dominican Republic with the majority located in the cities of Santo Domingo, Santiago de los Caballeros, Higüey, La Romana, San Cristóbal and La Vega.

American sports are the most popular particularly baseball which generates at least 70 per cent of all sports betting while the NBA, college basketball, NFL football and ice hockey account for the bulk of the remaining 30 per cent he said.

Sports betting is extremely popular in the Dominican Republic and the industry had been growing at a fast pace before the government put a cap on the number of betting shops. Their number increased by 74 per cent from 800 in 2000, to 1,393 in 2006, according to statistics released jointly by the Ministry of Sports and the National Federation of Lottery Betting Parlors (FENEBANCA) growing at a rate of 30 per cent a year.

Sports betting has been permitted since 1991 when the government placed the industry under the supervision of the Sports Ministry which was granted permission to grant licences and oversee the industry. However, the law was amended in 2006 to rule that slot machines could only be present in sport betting shops or in casinos. Before then slot machines were widely present in grocery shops and other small businesses.

Gaming in the Dominican Republic is regulated by three major gaming laws. Law No.351 which was passed in 1964, Law No.96-88 which was passed in 1988 and Law No.29-06 which was passed in 2006. Broadly speaking Law No.315 allowed casino gaming in the Dominican Republic. Law No. 96-88 allowed casinos to house slot machines in order to further boost revenues for the state and Law No.29-06 significantly increased the tax burden on casinos and the gaming industry. It also permitted slot machines in sports betting shops. Gaming laws are also frequently amended primarily in order to raise taxes on the industry.

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