The little country in the Caribbean Sea is not only a dream destination for those loving luxury, but also a paradise for gambling enthusiasts
by Gigi Stancu
You can find sea, sun and soft sand in many places on this planet, and the giants of the tourism industry now this. Faces a more and more harsh competition, those responsible for the promotion policies of different exotic destinations have tried to offer something more than just rest, luxury and impeccable services. And the Dominicans should be awarded for vision.
Tourism and gambling
The Dominican Republic has had this climate all the time and has always been washed in the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea. However, until the 90’s, with the exception of certain adventure-seeking Americans, few people rushed to walk its beaches on which Cristopher Columbus first set foot on in his campaign which led him to discover America. The enlightened minds in Santo Domingo, the capital from which the little country with almost 11 million inhabitants is ruled, have gathered around a table to discuss what they need to make money with what nature gave them, without doing anything more. And they all agreed on two key aspects which were to be not only successful, but actually brilliant. On each of the 3 sides opening to the sea, because in the west, it is “blocked” by Haiti, the Dominican Republic built a series of luxury resorts targeting the North-Americans and the Europeans’ money: Punta Cana. Then, from 2000 until 2011, a legislation was established in the field of gambling which was to become the key to success. As such, the casinos, with all their possible games, were allowed for the first time in the Dominican Republic, which became a paradise in the field. Not tax-wise, as this business was heavily taxed, first by 25% on profit, then, in a few years, with 29% on profit. As to not throw chaos within a conservative society, 80% practicing catholic and unprepared to face such a wave of temptation, the natives were prohibited access to such places. It was clearly stipulated that these casinos had been created as to attract tourists and this pas precisely the reason for which they were allowed only within hotel premises. Practically, if you do not own a resort, you won’t receive a permit from the Government as to carry out an activity in the gambling industry.
The biggest casino is Hard Rock Casino Punta Cana
Therefore, all over the Dominican Republic blossomed such pairs, Hotel & Casino, and currently their number reaches 40, 18 in Punta Cana, 12 in Santo Domingo and the rest are scattered in destinations as beautiful as the rest, but less known, such as Puerto Plata, Santiago de los Caballeros, Bayahibe, Bavaro or Boca Chica. Punta Cana is, however, the paradise, this city having been evaluated by the profile sites as owning 4 of the best 5 casinos in the Dominican. The best one if The Hard Rock Casino, establishment built on 4,100 square meters in an oasis taken out of Johnny Depp movies. This offers 450 slot machines and video games, 40 game tables, Roulette, poker hall opened 20 hours out of 24, Blackjack, Baccarat, Dice and many more. For now, it only lack sports betting, which they are working on, but a William Hill franchise awaits you in most of the other casinos in the Dominican were dog and horse racing, cock fights and baseball are the most sought after. This lack of sports betting doesn’t affect the colossal “Hard Rock” in Punta Cana, which for years now, is the second biggest casino in the Caribbean, after the famous “The Atlantis” in Bahamas. Once this Pandora’s Box was opened, it was hard to believe that the locals’ implication could be held off for long.
The locals were finally permitted to play
So, it has been a few years now since they are allowed to enter and play in a casino, fact which led to an explosion of the country’s economy, the most powerful in the area. However, the 6 million tourists which have crossed its threshold in the 2016-2017 season have made the difference and await 6.5 million during the next season, most of them from the USA and Canada. Besides the casino-specific games, the Dominican has a true tradition in lottery, but it has nothing to do with tourism, but under the direct jurisdiction of the state, which also organizes the lottery. Dominicans are the weakest when speaking about the on-line industry, where the remission offered by casinos in 2000 is being delayed. Amaya, the “mother” of the famous PokerStars and FullTilt platforms, available in Romania as well, have obtained in 2011, the first and only license to function on the internet, but no actually games have taken place until today. According to the press in the area, the problem is the manner of taxing, upon which the implicated parties have yet to agree on. Concurrently, the Dominicans’ idea was to attract tourists – players, not to facilitate large companies in the field’ remote creation of leaches from which the Dominican Republic won’t have much to gain. In the end, that’s how it actually is! If you want to play on-line poker, you can do it in your living room, why go to the Dominican?
Conclusion: Tourism and gambling go hand in hand in the Dominican Republic and you cannot have one without the other.