Opportunities in Dominica

10 August 1999
The Commonwealth of Dominica markets itself as an offshore haven with flexible legislation and tax-free income, hoping to bring international investors. Operating an Internet gaming site is among the opportunities Dominica offers, and to make things easier for prospective licensees, the Ministry of Finance has launched a new informative website.

The new home page of the International Business Unit of the Commonwealth of Dominica's Ministry of Finance, located at www.ibuoffshoredominica.dm, boasts the availability of offshore banking, offshore trust companies, Internet gaming and management and holding companies. According to the site, the goal of the "offshore haven" is to develop a "high quality international financial sector in Dominica."

The Web page was created in order to provide correct information on current legislation in Dominica and keep those interested informed as to what offshore services are available on the island. It serves as a source of "updated information and cheap marketing," said Aretha Francis, assistant manager for the International Business Unit.

In order to start an offshore business in Dominica, one must first acquire a license. For example, the Internet gaming license costs $15,000, with an annual renewal rate of five percent of the net earnings for the previous year. Then, of course, there are multiple applications--which are all viewable online--in addition to financial statements and a contract to be signed with the government.

Included in the Internet gaming license is the ability to set up Internet sports books, "800" numbers or cyber-casinos. There are many guidelines casino directors must follow, however, in order to run an online gambling site from Dominica. For example, there must be adequate age-identification services and the casinos cannot be accessible to permanent residents or citizens of Dominica.

Currently, there are 6,086 companies utilizing Dominica's offshore opportunities, 6,047 of which are international businesses. Twenty seven are online casinos and five are offshore banks. Due to the three to four month wait for company licenses to be granted and the newness of the website, it's too early to measure its effectiveness in attracting licensees. So far, no new companies have taken roots in Dominica since the launch of the page.