The island nation of Antigua and Barbuda is sandwiched between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Part of a group of islands known as the “Lesser Antilles”, Antigua and Barbuda are made up of the two main islands carrying the name respectively, and few smaller islands belonging to the country. Once a part of the British Empire, today it’s part of the Commonwealth and practices British Common Law. Antigua and Barbuda not only allows for casinos and sports betting, but you’ll find an abundance of online casinos and sports books licensed here. It’s one of the oldest jurisdictions offering online gambling, but it’s also part of the “White List”, meaning online gambling sites in Antigua and Barbuda can still offer their services to British audiences.
History of Gambling in Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda has a long history of legalized gambling and betting. The island nation was once a colony of the British Empire, and operated under British Common Law, even after it gained independence in 1981.
In 1963, the Betting and Gaming Act, Cap. 47 in the laws of Antigua and Barbuda was introduced, which restricted gaming to hotel establishments in the island. Even though Antigua and Barbuda had a solid land-based gambling scene, it was the online division that made the Caribbean nation stand out as a gambling Mecca.
History of Online Gambling in Antigua and Barbuda
The Caribbean twin island state of Antigua and Barbuda’s independence from Britain in 1981 might have given the country autonomy, but continuing to follow British Common Law and the British legislative framework has worked in its favor where online gambling is concerned. In 1982, after the enactment of the International Business Corporations Act, Antigua and Barbuda became a popular jurisdiction for offshore banking, paving the way to bring in the online gambling and e-gaming industry.
Antigua and Barbuda became the one of the very first gambling jurisdictions to offer licenses to online gambling and betting companies in 1994, and since then Antigua and Barbuda offered licenses to some of the top online gambling sites out there.
Because of Antigua and Barbuda’s “white-list” status, sites licensed here can offer their services to UK residents.
However in 2003, the US government posed restrictions to online gambling sites, making it hard for players to access local sites in Antigua and Barbuda. The jurisdiction complained to the World Trade Organization, citing that the US has violated the General Agreement on Trade Services. Antigua and Barbuda eventually won the court case.
Culture of Gambling in Antigua and Barbuda
Even though all forms of gambling are legal in Antigua and Barbuda, it’s really only casino gaming that’s taken off, although you’ll still find sports betting outlets and bingo halls around the island country. There are six land-based casinos, where table games like poker are popular. One of the most popular games in Antigua and Barbuda is Caribbean Stud Poker.
Online gambling on the other hand is huge in Antigua and Barbuda, and a large proportion of the workforce, such as those employed as providers, call center employees, IT professionals and so on, are working in the sector.
Casinos in Antigua
There are 6 land-based casinos in on the islands, where there are 4 cities that have gambling facilities, with the capital St. John’s, which is located on the island of Antigua and has three casinos. The casinos on Antigua and Barbuda offer Vegas-style table games such as roulette and blackjack, and all of the casinos have a poker room, with Caribbean Stud Poker being a local favorite.
King’s Casino is the largest casino in the island state, and is located in the capital St. John’s. There are 15 table games available to play here, as well as 300 video machines, including slots and video poker.
Online Casinos in Antigua and Barbuda
Online gambling is big business in Antigua and Barbuda, ever since the country became one of the very first jurisdictions to license online casinos in 1994. Because of the name and years of respected reputation Antigua and Barbuda has, and the industry was worth $3.4 billion annually prior to the US restricting its players from gambling online in 2003.
In the early 2000s, it was easy to obtain a license, but since Antigua and Barbuda wanted to improve their image, so there are stricter criteria for application today. All applications must be approved by the Directorate of Offshore Gambling, after which a license could cost between 75,000-100,000 USD.
Some of the big online casino names licensed from Antigua and Barbuda are Winner and Bodog.
Sports Betting in Antigua and Barbuda
Even though you can find betting shops in the country, the sports betting market, at least on land, is not very big in Antigua and Barbuda. There are no horse or dog racetracks on the islands, and the majority of sports betting is kept online.
Online Sports Betting in Antigua and Barbuda
Just like with its online casinos, Antigua and Barbuda is home to a wide range of sportsbooks. Online sports betting forms a large part of the country’s economy, and is even home to one of the largest bookmakers in the world –Winner.
Bingo in Antigua and Barbuda
Since all forms of gambling are legal in Antigua and Barbuda, bingo is allowed by law in Antigua and Barbuda, but it’s not offered in any of the casinos located on the islands. However, while there are bingo halls around, it’s the online bingo industry that has taken over the market.
Online Bingo in Antigua and Barbuda
Online bingo is huge in Antigua and Barbuda’s online gaming industry and has even over taken the land-based games. Bingo Mania is one of the largest sites from Antigua and Barbuda, with other names like Bingo Sky, Cyber Bingo and Caribbean Bingo Party also included.
Poker in Antigua and Barbuda
Poker is big in Antigua and Barbuda, since all the casinos feature poker rooms with a variation of games, such as Texas Hold’em, for example. Caribbean Stud Poker is the most popular game on the islands, and can be found all across the casinos in Antigua and Barbuda.
Online Poker in Antigua and Barbuda
Poker games are available in the numerous online casinos licensed by Antigua and Barbuda, but there are also sites licensed from the Caribbean country dedicated to it, such as Poker World, World Poker Exchange and The Poker Club.
Lottery in Antigua and Barbuda
There is The Caribbean Lottery, which was launched in 2007, available on Antigua and Barbuda, this is operated by Gtech Holdings Corporation, in addition to virtual lotteries.