Antigua and Barbuda Online Gambling License
Antigua and Barbuda are two islands that compose a single nation in the Caribbean Sea east of Puerto Rico. The country has been issuing licenses and regulating online gambling since 1994. It licenses a number of US-friendly gambling sites as well as sites that serve the non-US market.
In its early years as a licensing entity, Antigua was generous in awarding licenses to any operator who could meet the minimum standards of approval. This resulted in a number of low quality gambling sites proudly displaying the Antigua seal of approval and then going on to run borderline scam operations.
The good news is Antigua tightened its regulatory standards and become much more discriminating in who it authorized to operate internet gaming organizations. The Antigua and Barbuda licensing authority is now whitelisted by the UK, and its licensees have a much improved track record for taking care of players.
If you see the Antigua seal of approval displayed anywhere on a gambling website, you can click on that seal to go straight to the Antigua Directorate of Offshore Gaming website. There, you'll see the current status of the license-holder. You can click on that seal any time to see the authenticity of any gambling site's claim to be licensed.
Licensing Process and Fees
Any operator interested in setting up shop in Antigua must apply for a license to gamble, undergo a background check, and submit to independent audits of its gambling systems and finances. If approved, the operator is given a 1-year license which is renewable each year after.
The necessary paperwork to submit an application can be found at the Antigua Gaming website (see the top of this page).
- Application fee: $15,000
- Interactive gaming license: $100,000
- Interactive wagering license: $75,000
- Annual renewal fee per license: $5,000
Antigua vs. The United States
Antigua has been involved in a dispute with the United States over online gambling since 2003. The issue at hand is that online gambling is a legal industry in Antigua but outlawed in the United States. Where Antigua protects and regulates online gambling, the United States has laws on the books that make it illegal to offer online gambling services to residents of the US. Both countries are members of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Normally, it wouldn't be a problem for two countries to have different laws regarding the legality of an industry. The problem is the United States enforces its ban on gambling haphazardly. Some forms of online gambling are legal in the US. For example, it's legal to offer online horse wagering if your company is located on US soil.
In other words, the US is discriminating against foreign providers of goods while favoring its own providers. Antigua took the issue to the WTO and the WTO ruled in favor of Antigua. The WTO gave the United States until 2006 to fix the policy; either let everyone offer online horse betting or ban it for everyone.
The United States never got around to changing anything. In fact, the United States doubled down by passing the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006. Once again, the UIGEA created a double standard. Payment processors for offshore gambling sites were singled out for legal action where certain payment processors for local horse betting groups were exempted.
Antigua returned to the WTO and once again, the WTO ruled against the United States. After a back-and-forth courtroom battle, the WTO was unable to get the US to comply with international law and granted Antigua the legal permission to violate US copyrights and patents to pay for damages.
The US-Antigua saga continues to this day with no end in sight. Although the issue is far from resolved, it shows the temerity of this small island-nation to stand up to the most powerful trading nation in the world. Even more interestingly, the case highlights the hypocrisy of US law regarding online gambling.
If you're interested in learning more about the online gambling laws in Antigua and Barbuda you can visit their website or contact them through phone or email. You are able to find all of that information below:
Phone: (268) 481-3300
Author: Wesley Burns
Updated: March 2015