Discovered in 1493 by Christopher Columbus, Antigua and Barbuda is a democratic state of Central America and the Caribbean. In 1994 it had been one of the first jurisdictions to issue licenses for interactive gaming and betting companies. Internet gaming societies are classified under the label of "financial institutions" and they must meet all the jurisdiction requirements in relation to money laundering (AML) and Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF).
The "Division of Gaming" is the regulatory body that is part of the Financial Services Regulatory Commission (FSRC, namely "Financial Services Regulatory Commission"), accountable for the legislation of all aspects of the offshore gaming industry in Antigua &Barbuda’s jurisdiction. “Division of Gaming” aims Antigua &Barbuda to be internationally recognized as the best jurisdiction and it provides that its rules and its regulations remain at the highest level. The jurisdiction’s normative system has three fundamental objectives: to prevent money laundering, to protect players and, finally, to improve industries. All gaming activities within the State are subject to the Money Laundering Prevention Act (MLPA) and the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA, year 2011).
On 24 March 2004 Antigua &Barbuda has reached a milestone as a developing nation, and it is pleased to be the smallest member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). In 2005 the WTO has even won a case regarding certain restrictive measures taken by the United States in terms of online gambling. This judgement can be interpreted as the acknowledgement of countries’ need to develop in order to improve their social and economical status liberalizing trade in services. The Government of Antigua &Barbuda continues to support the gaming industry on the internet and keep on working actively to firm up its position as a major player in such a dynamic industry.
The Financial Services Regulatory Commission gives a detailed list of all licenses issued. The list has been divided into two main categories:
- Are the companies that have received a license from the Division of Gaming, and therefore can provide interactive bets, interactive games, or both. To date (June 7, 2011), the active companies operating under the jurisdiction of Antigua &Barbuda are the following:
- Continental Ventures Ltd
- Coolidge Gaming Ltd
- Coolidge Sports Ltd
- EHG INC
- Gaming Ventures Limited
- Global Entertainment (Antigua) Ltd
- Helix Gaming International Ltd
- Imperial E- Club Limited
- Internet Opportunity Ent. (Sports) Ltd
- Lotto Ltd
- Matchbook Limited
- Zirconium Gaming Limited
- Non-active licenses are the companies that currently don't have a license issued by the laws of Antigua &Barbuda, though they claim fraudulently and falsely to own one. Currently this list contains only a company, Best Sports World (www.bestsportworld.com).
How to apply for and obtain a gambling license in Antigua and Barbuda
To require and obtain a gambling license in Antigua &Barbuda, you must meet strict requirements and show a set of filled forms (there are five) depending on the type of license you are asking for (there is one for bets and one for games). The applicant must pay a non refundable fee, amounting to U.S. $ 15,000, for costs and expenses of the Judging Commission. In case this amount is not sufficient, the Commission shall notify the applicant, in written form, an additional non refundable deposit, whose amount will be determined by the Commission.
After a maximum of 60 days, the Commission may accept the request, may reject it or may return it to the sender, to have more information and/or verifications. Of course, every information, both incoming and outgoing, is strictly confidential and will not be disclosed to third parties.
In order to obtain a gaming license or an interactive betting license, the applicant must show the following requirements:
- take care of the players' account and verify their identity;
- prevent any player younger than 18 years old to utilize the services provided;
- undertake to prevent and contrast by every possible means any attempt of money laundering;
- inform customers of the addiction risks related to gambling and provide them with any means of support to avoid risks of compulsive gambling.
How much does an Antigua and Barbuda’s gaming license cost ?
Each applicant must pay $ 100,000 per year for online gaming license (the one necessary to own casino) and 75,000 dollars per year for licensed online gambling, and, of course, a non refundable fee of $ 15,000 just once, at the moment of license’s acquisition.
Moreover, a $ 100,000 reserve must be deposited on an account established by the Commission itself, though the owner of the license has to follow the obligations, mostly those in defence of players who have the right to receive their prizes and money. This amount will eventually be returned within 30 days if the owner decides not to further renew the license after its expiration date.
- Royal Palm Place
- Friar's Hill Road
- P.O. Box 2674, St. John's
- Antigua & Barbuda
- West Indies