The history of gambling in Suriname is quite interesting. As per the Wet Hazardspelen, gambling has been legal in the country since 1962. But then, there was just one casino that was partly owned by the government.
There have been hide and seek games between authorities and operators over many years. Even though gambling was legal, the national government only issued the first licenses in 1996.
Three hotel establishments were given licenses to operate casino activities. This came at a time when many South American governments were adopting gambling as a way to raise revenue through tax.
Then, in 2004, the government clamped down heavily on casino establishments. Again, there were claims that casinos were linked to money laundering.
A similar crackdown happened in 2007, with allegations of tax evasion offshore banking added to the laundering claims. This mainly stemmed from the fact that a lot of gambling was done by foreigners who visited the coastal capital as tourists.
Gambling nowadays in Suriname
After the 2009 clampdowns, there has been relative calm and growth of gambling in Suriname. A 2009 report showed that there were nine physical casinos in the country.
All of them were located in Paramaribo. Today, there are 15 big casinos in the country and 15 smaller ones. There are also bingo halls and a sports lottery operated by Suribet, a Superbet subsidiary.
Online gambling is also present and still growing in Suriname. Pasha Global and Suribet have been licensed in one of the countries that have a framework to regulate online gaming.
Due to the nature of online gaming, it is not easy to control the practice. It is, therefore, difficult to say how many people in the country are playing in foreign online casinos. With such an advanced level of internet connectivity, and given physical casinos have long been present, online gaming flourishes in Suriname.