In a history making vote the National Assembly of Nicaragua passes the Casino and Gaming Room Control Act, creating a licensed and regulated market for Nicaraguan gambling establishments.
The Casino Control Act is the first Nicaraguan gambling laws to have passed the Assembly with a 77 votes in favor, none against and three abstaining. The abstaining votes came from the three ultra-hardline members of the Sandinista Socialist Party including National Assembly Deputy Monica Baltodano, who decried the act as a conspiracy of ‘hidden groups seeking benefits with the approval of the initiative.’
The Casino Act placed the control of the casinos in the hands of the new Nicaraguan gaming regulator – The Department of Casinos and Gaming Venues, attached to the Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism (Intur). Under the new law, it is forbidden for children under 18 years to enter a gambling establishment.
Even though not clearly mentioned in the law, operating an online casinos in Nicaragua may be allowed by license holders. Currently there are no laws explicitly forbidding opening online gambling websites or internet sports betting sites.
Legal experts believe that as long as the requirements are met under the new licensing system, the license holder will be able to offer online gambling in Nicaragua to players from around the world.
Four classes of licenses will be awarded based on minimum number of slot machines and bank deposit balances in order to allow the licensing of both large casinos and saloons in one-horse towns.
According to online gambling news in Nicaragua, the four classes of licenses that will be offered are:
Class-A Gaming License – The highest standard whereby the establishment must have a minimum of 71 slot machines and three table games. The business must also show that at least $100,000 is deposited in a checking account and there is a $50,000 bank guaranteed bond. Must also provide 30 full time jobs and invest $200,000 into the business.
Class-B Gaming License – The business must have between 25-70 slot machines and have a checking account with $50,000 on deposit and a $40,000 bank guaranteed bond. Must also provide 30 full time jobs and invest $200,000 into the business.
Class-C Gambling License – The business must have between 16-24 slot machines and have a checking account with $25,000 on deposit and a $20,000 bank guaranteed bond.
Class-D Gambling License – The business must have between 10-15 slot machines and have a checking account with $10,000 on deposit and a $10,000 bank guaranteed bond.
Chairman Sandinista Wálmaro Gutierrez of the Committee on Production, Economics and Budget stated that the reason for the Casino Act is to regulate the industry as a business. He added that today, the Nicaragua casino industry is fly-by-night, undependable and doesn’t protect the interests of the casino gamblers. Officially there are 120 businesses in Nicaragua which generate 80 million córdobas annually.
“There are too many irresponsible businesses that you can’t even call a gambling room. Slot machines are place in restaurants, pharmacies, medical offices, nightclubs, and establishment people want,” Chairman Gutierrez explains.
To file an “application form” for the license requires a $2000 fee and the licese will be valid for 20 years and could be renewed. Each slot machine must pay a yearly tax of twenty US dollars and each gaming table must pay $100.