Aníbal García Díaz, the director of the gambling regulator from the Dominican Republic, has revealed that work is underway on a project that would introduce severe sanctions against illegal gambling operators.

The Dominican Government estimates that it loses around $15m due to illegal gambling. In addition, the regulator stressed that licensed companies are also harmed: “We have an action plan aimed at eliminating all illegal gambling practices in the Dominican Republic,” said the director.

“Illegal gambling harms businesses with acquired rights, which must be guaranteed by the State, and harms the Ministry of Treasury as they evade millions, which it would receive if they had a legal license,” said García Díaz to Diario Libre.

Currently, local laws establish that once the regulator finds an illegal operator, it shuts down its operations, seizes its equipment and revenue and then, depending on the severity of the case, authorities ask the Justice to intervene.

Furthermore, the director of the local regulator said that any gambling business that is currently operating without the authorization from the Ministry of Finance must undergo a regulatory process.

The initiative comes after the authorities destroyed more than 2,300 slots and equipment rescued in operations against illegal gambling. While the majority of the machines were slots, they also found a lot of equipment used for online gambling.