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
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
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
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
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
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:
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