A Big Step for I-Gaming in the Virgin Islands

27 November 2002

The U.S. Virgin Islands passed Internet gambling regulations Monday. The territory legalized online gaming by a vote of the legislature in August 2001.

According to the regulations, I-gaming companies will be able to operate from St. Croix. Provisions have been made for two master licenses, called "Master Service Providers." They will be the only companies authorized to operate online gambling sites. Licensees will have to be approved by the Virgin Islands Casino Control Commission.

Potential licensees will pay a $10,000 application fee and $25,000 for a two-year license. The annual tax for licensees will be 1.5 percent of gross Internet gambling revenue.

The passage of the jurisdiction's law permitting Internet gambling also recently got an OK from the Virgin Islands' Office of the attorney general. Iver A. Stridiron of the attorney general's office sent a letter to Virgin Islands Casino Control Commission leader Eileen Peterson on Nov. 15. The letter states that Stridiron's office disagrees with the U.S. Department of Justice about what types of wagering are prohibited by the Wire Act.

While the Department of Justice told the Nevada Gaming Commission that the Wire Act prohibits both casino gambling and sports betting across telephone wires, Stridiron says it is his office's opinion that the Wire Act does not apply to casino betting.

"The Virgin Islands Internet Gaming and Gambling Act would be considered consistent with federal and territorial law as long as Internet gambling is limited to games of chance, players are of lawful age and no bets are received or taken from an individual located in a jurisdiction that prohibits gaming," Stridiron wrote.

  • To view the Stridiron letter, click here.

  • Anne Lindner can be reached at anne@rivercitygroup.com.