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Online Casinos in the Jurisdiction of British VIrgin Islands

An overseas territory of the United Kingdom; the British Virgin Islands is a non-sovereign, self-governing nation in the Caribbean Sea. Located in the Virgin Islands archipelago, it is comprised of 60 volcanic islands, the largest of which are Tortola, Anegada, Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke.

Gambling Ban

According to the law of the British Virgin Islands, gambling is a strictly prohibited activity. Although the country is a UK dependency with a legal system based on the English common law, local legislature and courts act autonomously when domestic affairs are concerned. The territory is not subject to the laws of the European Union either; therefore the authorities can regulate gambling as per their own decision.

Anything that has to do with gambling is illegal in this country without exceptions. Neither online or land-based betting, wagering, lotteries or sweepstakes are allowed. Knowingly offering or engaging in these activities, or even being in a location where they might be held, is a criminal offense and warranties an imprisonment of up to one year in duration, or a fine of up to $1,000, or even both. In case a gambling-related event is suspected to be taking place, the police have the right to enter the facilities and seize all materials and money used in the act.

Caution Advised

However, you may have noticed that, despite the total ban, there are online casinos, or companies in some way related to online casinos, based in the British Virgin Islands. Some of them even claim to be licensed by the Government. This is not possible because there is no licensing system in place or any entity authorized by the state to grant gambling permits.

What the country has that attracts foreign operators is a flourishing financial services sector. Establishing an international business company under the ordinance of the British Virgin Islands Financial Services Commission has many benefits and incentives: no income taxes, very low initial and annual licensing fees, no financial reports, accounts or summaries required. This is why many offshore firms and organizations seek to incorporate in the Islands.

When you come across a casino claiming to be regulated by the Government of this country, you should know that this doesn't imply a gambling license. What it actually means is that they are authorized to conduct business and provide financial services within the jurisdiction, not gaming-related services. The legislation that provides the framework and supervisory policy for the financial services industry has nothing to do with gambling. Since it is all together and wholly illegal, it is clear that such casino is operating without a proper license.

The important thing to note is that some online venues have registered offices in one place, and acquired a license in another. It's done for financial and practical reasons, and in most parts of the world, such practice is not against the law. For example, a casino may be registered in the Virgin Islands but has a gambling license granted by the Curacao Gambling Commission.

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