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Turks and Caicos Online Casinos

Turks and CaicosThe Turks and Caicos Islands, more commonly known simply as Turks and Caicos or TCI, are a small British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean about 650 miles southeast of Florida. The islands feature a very small population – only about 49,000 people actually live here – and they have alternated between being ruled directly by the UK and enjoying home rule, with self-governance being restored most recently in 2012 after a short suspension due to corruption allegations.

One of the most important industries in TCI is tourism, with hundreds of thousands of visitors coming to the islands every year. Along with the natural beauty of the area, the government has also used musical festivals and other events to attract visitors, and casinos also play a major role in the industry – even if not all of the locals here have the option of spending their money at these resorts.

Casino Resorts Cater to Tourists

Many people think that gambling is widespread in the Caribbean, but this reputation isn’t quite as accurate as you may think. Many islands have limited gaming, and not all of them have casinos at all. Where these venues do exist, they are often designed with tourists in mind, with locals either barred from playing or heavily restricted in what they are allowed to do at the resorts.

Turks and Caicos is a perfect example of this. When the idea of casino gambling was first introduced here, the idea was clearly to attract tourists without risking the potential social ills that can come with a fully functioning gaming industry. For a long time, the Casablanca Casino in Providenciales was the only live casino in the country, and only tourists and other non-citizens were allowed to play there.

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That situation was maintained from the early 1990s, when the Casablanca was first opened, through 2007, when new laws were passed. Under the new regulations, local residents are now allowed to play at casinos, provided that they have an annual income of at least $75,000. This is similar to income or wealth requirements seen in a handful of other nations; the idea is to ensure that gamblers aren’t spending their last dime on slots or table games, while still giving those who can afford the entertainment a chance to play in the resorts.

The Casablanca is open from 7 pm to 5 am each day, though hours are sometimes extended during peak tourism seasons. Along with 85 slot machines, there are also 12 gaming tables that offer games such as blackjack, roulette, baccarat and various poker-based games.

In 2015, a second gaming resort opened on the island of Providenciales. The Caicos Royale Casino is located near Turtle Cove, and offers an even wider variety of options to players. Open from 10 am to 5 am each day (with table games opening at 1 pm), there are hundreds of machines and tables, including blackjack, craps, roulette, Three Card Poker and more. There’s also a poker room that offers nightly cash games and a sportsbook, the only licensed bookmaker in TCI.

Additional gambling options can be found throughout Turks and Caicos. A company known as Carib Gaming operates slot machines at many cafes and clubs throughout the nation, providing a quick fix for casual gamblers. There was also a state-controlled lottery that ran for some years, though its future is uncertain after revenues came in far lower than were expected in its first few years of operation.

Plentiful Options for Online Players

Here’s a fact you might not know about online casinos: Turks and Caicos was actually the home of the very first Internet casino site. That historic event took place in August 1995, when Internet Casinos, Inc. launched in the country with a gambling site that offered a whopping 18 games to players from around the world.

That, of course, was a long time ago, and today there is no regulatory regime for Internet gaming in TCI. That’s not to say that there’s a ban on the practice here: the government has shown relatively little interest in stopping residents from signing up for sites that are based in foreign countries, for instance. But they have not licensed or regulated any sites in the islands, meaning that despite their important place in history, the Turks and Caicos no longer play an active role in the worldwide Internet casino industry.

Instead, gamblers here must rely on foreign sites in order to get their fix. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as it opens up the possibility of playing at hundreds of different casinos, sportsbooks, and poker rooms throughout the world. And because the local government hasn’t taken a strong stance against such efforts, most companies are more than happy to let players from TCI enjoy real money games on their sites.

While there are some developers and software providers who do not offer gambling here due to the lack of regulations, most of the biggest firms are active here, thanks to the relatively open legal standing for foreign operations. That leaves it mostly up to individual operators and developers to decide whether or not they’re willing to target the islands. Some of the gaming firms you will see here include:

  • Microgaming
  • NetEnt
  • Betsoft
  • Rival
  • Play’n GO

More Resorts on the Way

We don’t expect to see any major policy changes anytime soon in Turks and Caicos, but that doesn’t mean that changes aren’t coming to the territory. The opening of a second resort in the past few years may have opened the floodgates a bit, and there are already plans to add a third casino in the next few years.

In 2015, the TCI government signed an agreement with the Desarroloos Hotel Group to build an integrated resort – which would include gambling facilities – in the Grace Bay region of Providenciales. The $224 million project was expected to include more than 100 hotel rooms along with luxury penthouses, and would be operated by the Ritz-Carlton Hotels Company. The casino will likely open in 2019.

Could even more resorts be on the way? The possibility is certainly there, though the local government will have to be careful not to oversaturate what is still a relatively small market. Meanwhile, we don’t expect to see Internet betting sites regulated here anytime soon either, though action against foreign operators also seems unlikely. Instead, it seems that the status quo will continue for the foreseeable future, as there has been little discussion or movement towards a change in either direction.

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