News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Sept. 1, 2023: At the end of 2021, there were over 5,000 slot machines in Puerto Rico. Both Aruba and the Dominican Republic had over 3,000 such machines in the same period. Clearly, slots are big business in the Caribbean.
But what else is contributing to the ever-growing gambling industry in the region?
Apart from a brief blip in 2020 following the pandemic, the gambling industry in the Caribbean has shown steady growth since 2017 and is projected to continue growing nicely over the coming years.
By the end of 2022, it was thought that the casino games market would be worth $1.22 million in the region, with an annual growth rate between then and 2027 of 11.12%. Casino apps were particularly valuable in the Caribbean, with in-app purchases in such apps worth almost $775,000 and paid app revenue of just over $5000.
The sector’s success in the region could partially be attributed to Antigua and Barbuda becoming the first online gambling license issuer, back in 1994. Licenses are comparatively expensive to obtain here, with an interactive gaming license costing £100,000 (around $127,000). However, customers at casinos holding this license are well-protected, with National Anti-Money Laundering Regulations, Counter-Terrorism Financing Regulations and Know Your Customer Policies all being required by these operations.
Although not as old as Antigua and Barbuda’s gambling license, Curaçao’s is one of the biggest in the world. It’s thought that gambling licenses account for around half of the island’s GDP, and that 40% of the world’s gambling licenses are issued by Curaçao. As for how many sites hold such a license, estimates put the number at around 12,000.
Many tourists flock to the Caribbean, not only to enjoy the world-class beaches, but also to gamble at some of the region’s casinos, many of which can rival Vegas and Macau’s.
For example, Puerto Rico is home to 18 casinos, with the largest offering over 400 slot machines. Another resort on the island covers over 7000 square feet, so guests are certainly spoiled for choice when it comes to gaming options.
The Puerto Rico Gaming Commission, the organization that oversees gambling on the island, reported that revenue from slots doubled during the second half of 2021, with casinos generating a total revenue of $165 million after paying out prizes and running costs.
The popularity of the Caribbean theme has trickled into the online gaming industry in the US and further afield, too. Such themed games are becoming increasingly prominent on online casino platforms, like the ones recommended here.
For example, there’s Caribbean-themed games such as Caribbean Gold. In this pirate-themed slot game, players can stack up comical pirate ships and trunks packed with lots of treasure. It’s here you can find access to free games, and you could even bag yourself a chance at the Grand Jackpot. Another game is Carribean Holidays by Novomatic, which is a 5-reel, 20-payline slot. The game features special symbols, a bonus game and autoplay options, but it has a fairly low RTP of 93.01%.