Simon’s Guide to Gambling in Vanuatu

On the picture is the Grand Hotel & Casino - the biggest casino in Vanuatu.

Gambling in Vanuatu

Vanuatu is and Oceanian island nation located 1750 km north of the northern coasts of Australia. It’s population of 266,937 (2014 estimate) is spread over the 65 islands of the Y-shaped archipelago.

The most important legislative documents regulating gambling in the country are the Lotteries Act of 1989, the Casino Control Act of 1993 and the Interactive Gaming Act of 2000.

Vanuatu was one of the first countries in the world to regulate online gambling and is working hard to become one of the worlds most trusted issuers of interactive gaming licenses.

Vanuatu gambling license

Licensees must comply with a set of rigorous regulations and go through preliminary audits, the details of which are kept confidential, but have a reputation of being quite stringent.

An interactive gaming licence issued in Vanuatu has a term of 10 years. The fee for an application for an interactive gaming licence is USD $75,000 and the annual licence fee is USD $50,000. Vanuatu has one of the lowest tax rates in the world set for its licensees, which is 2,5% of gross profit for all game types alike.
Since 2003 they also issue licenses for online sports books.

Licences are issued for all sorts of offline gambling firms and establishments as well, although detailed regulations are in place and high standards must be met for obtaining such a licence.

Gambling in Vanuatu is generally safe, because of the strict regulations.


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Casino gambling in Vanuatu


Online casino gambling in Vanuatu: legal, casinos require a license, locally registered online casinos require a license


Currently, there are several land-based casinos in Vanuatu, the Palms Resort & Casino Vanuatu, the Grand Hotel & Casino and the Club 21 Hotel Casino, all located in Port Vila.

Casinos are held to high standards. Taxation details and licence requirements are specified in the Casino Control Act of 1993*, which was amended several times since inception.

Since the Interactive Gaming Act is in operation from 2000, Vanuatuan gamblers have a great variety of trusted and high quality online casinos to choose from, which were licensed in the country.

Internet casinos licensed in Vanuatu also benefited from Australia’s Interactive Gambling Bill, which prohibits Australian-based Internet gaming companies from offering their services to Australian players.

I didn’t find any specific info on, whether players form Vanuatu are able to play in casinos licensed elsewhere, but neither of the Acts regulating various forms of gambling in the country mentioned a specific ban on foreign operators.


*Source: Pacific Island Legal Information Institute- Vanuatu Betting (control) Act – No. 1 of 1993


Bingo in Vanuatu


Online Bingo in Vanuatu: legal, requires a licence


There are land-based Bingo halls in some of Vanuatu’s major tourist resorts, although the game doesn’t appear to be particularly popular in the country.

Licenses from Vanuatu are also issued for online gambling sites that offer Bingo (too). The legislation doesn’t restrict players from Vanuatu to play on offshore sites either.



Poker in Vanuatu


Online Poker in Vanuatu: legal, requires a license


Vanuatu regulates and issues licenses to offline casinos and most of the major ones have Poker tables as well. The Grand Hotel Vanuatu, for example, has live tables and also 130 electronic Poker machines in its casino.

The country also issues interactive gaming licenses to online operators in accordance with the Interactive Gaming Act of 2000. This includes online Poker platforms as well.

Earlier this year, the Tropical Cyclone Pam caused huge damages on Vanuatu, cutting off many of its smaller islands from communication all together. Major Poker platforms, PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker were one of the firsts to organise a financial aid program for the archipelago state. This suggests, that online Poker platforms and the country have a peaceful relationship.




Sports Betting in Vanuatu


Online sports Betting in Vanuatu: legal, license required, online and offline


In Vanuatu, betting is regulated and overseen by the Betting Control Act of 1993. Licenses are handed out by the authorities and licensees must meet the standards set in the Act.

Since the Act was amended in 2003, online bookmakers can receive a license in Vanuatu as well.

For online sports books, the application fee for a license is  $35,000 plus $30,000, annually. On top of the 2,5% interactive gaming tax on monthly gross revenues, there is also a 0,1% corporation tax imposed on fixed-odds betting.

Recently, a Vanuatu-based online bookmaker was caught up in a horse race betting controversy with the Australian authorities for allegedly ripping of some high-profile punters. The website of BetJack (the sports book in question) was shut down by the Vanuatuan authorities after the incident.




Lottery in Vanuatu


Online lottery in Vanuatu: legal, requires licence


Licenses for conducting lottery games are issued by the Minister of Finance of Vanuatu, under the Lotteries Act of 1989, which too, have been amended several times since its enactment. The taxes on lottery games are also determined by the Minister with a minimum rate of 10% laid down in the Act. Licenses for conducting overseas lotteries from Vanuatu are also handed out by the Minister of Finance.

Online lotteries fall within the scope of the Interactive Gaming Act of 2000* as well. Therefore online lottery operators, too, are able to apply for and receive a licence in the country.


*Source: Pacific Island Legal Information Institute – Vanuatu Interactive Gaming Act of 2000



BitCoin Gambling in Vanuatu


BitCoin Gambling in Vanuatu: no specific regulation on Bitcoin gambling


Although, I haven’t found any specific information on the stance of the Vanuatuan state towards Bitcoin, among small island states which are disadvantaged in the traditional economic sectors due to their size and geographical idiosyncrasies it is common to seek non-conventional ways for generating revenue. Therefore I wouldn’t be surprised, if some of these, like Vanuatu, would discover Bitcoin as a potential source of income in some way, in the next couple of years – perhaps somehow through Bitcoin casinos, which represent a trend in a rather nascent stage with tremendous opportunities.

For now, playing in Bitcoin is not restricted by the state of Vanuatu.




Online gambling websites accepting players from Vanuatu


Most online gambling websites accept players from Vanuatu, which is itself an issuer a of interactive gaming licenses.


The following online gambling websites accept players from Vanuatu.



BGO casino – accepting players from Vanuatu


BGO online bookmaker accepting players from Vanuatu


32 Red casino accepting players from Vanuatu


32 Red online bookmaker, sports betting website accepting players from Vanuatu


Black Lotus casino accepting players from Vanuatu



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This page is part of Simon’s List – Legal Status of Online Gambling – a definitive guide to the legal status of all forms of online gambling activities in every country around the world.


Last updated: 2015. 10. 11

Simon's Guide to Gambling in Vanuatu
Article Name
Simon's Guide to Gambling in Vanuatu
An overview of the legal status of various forms of gambling in the Oceanian Island State Vanuatu.

1 Response

  1. Michael Glasson says:

    Simon, I am a regular business visitor to Vanuatu. Who is the regulator in Vanuatu? Is it government or done thru a private enterprise or is it self regulation?

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