Talking about gambling, it does exist in Costa Rica as a legal entity having its own regulatory body. Even though the history of gambling in Cost Rica is short, very short, but it is overwhelming in a way that Costa Rica has ascended through the gambling market as a jurisdiction.

As a result, many online gambling sites have turned to Costa Rica for a gambling license, however, it is illegal for the country’s resident to indulge in online casinos or sports betting or online gambling of any sort but it’s great for residents from other countries.

Casino scene in Costa Rica is definitely underrated and understated. After its independence from Spain, Costa Rica struggled to move towards future on its own for some years, even when it proclaimed dominion from a collective Central America in 1838. But, despite the instability, Costa Rica has always generated a lot of revenue from gambling.

In 1999, when The United States Senate only introduced, not passed, the Internet Gambling Prohibition act, most of the casino operators and owners decided to move their operation to Costa Rica. They were welcomed with a simple jurisdiction and an ocean of potential customers. Most of it was because Costa Rica lacked any authoritative body regarding gambling. And that is how Costa Rica transformed into a gambling destination.

Casino Scene in Costa Rica

  • The legal age of player should be 18.
  • The country completely lacks an authoritative body regarding gambling.
  • It only takes $5,000 per year to buy data processing licenses for online casinos.
  • The opening of a casino in Costa Rica is fairly easy as long as $5,000 is paid annually and the government will not bother.
  • Casinos and gaming parlors must pay 10-15% of their net profits. But betting call centers have to pay their tax according to the number of employees: ¢20.5 million for 50 or lesser employees, ¢30.6 million for 51 to 99 employees and ¢40.6 million for 100 or more employees.
  • There are over 50 casinos in Costa Rica with the majority of them being in San José.
  • 50% of electronic gambling businesses in the world is between Costa Rica and Aruba, and together it generates $14+ billion annually.
  • Residents of the country are forbidden to participate in any form of online gambling and betting.

Land-based casino scene

Since it is one of the world’s most exotic places, it is only natural to visit the place for its serenity. It has too many unique and exotic locations to offer, from sandy beaches to luscious rainforests and from the local cuisine to bustle of the capital. It is pretty close to being in the wilderness paradise and with lenient gambling laws, for both online and land-based casinos, this country is one of the perfect destinations for gamblers.

This is a great place for munching on tasty Costa Rican bites, sipping cocktails in great locations and winning some cash.

Unlike Macau or Las Vegas, casinos in Costa Rica are small appendages to decently large hotels. While casinos in Vegas feel like hotels in casinos, Casino in Costa Rica are casinos in a hotel in the truest sense. Since the casinos are generally small, you’ll find about six tables and 50 slot machines.

They are generally silent or have a soft music playing in the background where players can focus on their game. Casinos are not jam-packed, one could walk around and explore all the while having a drink in their hands without the fear of bumping into anyone.

Some tables are unmanned and some tables don’t even have players and only 10% of the slot machines are occupied at a given time. This is only a typical scenario, there are of course bigger crowds depending on the place and time of the week. Non-alcoholic drinks are free and prices for alcoholic drinks are on the pricey side.

Online casino and gambling scene

Costa Rica was one of the first countries to make online casino and gambling legal in the 90s but these licenses were only data processing licenses.

Online casino and gambling scene is pretty confusing. For example, players indigenous to Costa Rica cannot play in an online casino that is licensed in Costa Rica but they can play if they are in a foreign country and if they are playing online while in the country, they need to make sure that the online casino is not licensed in Costa Rica.

When online casinos based in Costa Rica started, they started without a proper gambling license. As a result, these platforms, even today, aren’t really supervised to a high level and have many loopholes to exploit.

There was a plan to establish a gaming control board in 2013 which was supposed to be funded by the tax collected by casinos and this would’ve also made the licensing fee around $50,000 per year but the law has not become official yet.

It is pretty easy for an operator to establish itself in Costa Rica:

  • Business owners can buy an already established gaming company.
  • Set up an offshore corporation for offshore banking
  • Open up the offshore bank accounts
  • The operator has to apply for a gambling license through the Costa Rica Gaming Company
  • Find the payment processing companies which can be sourced through various agencies
  • The operator needs to have an office within Costa Rica
  • They also need to procure an online gaming license. However, it is still not strictly required)

It cannot be said that Costa Rica is going to become the next gambling monopoly of the world with the entire South-Asian gambling world still in the picture. But the casino and gambling scenario in Costa Rica is highly underrated and understated. It’s gambling industry still needs to develop a lot before it can take over the gambling world but it still has an influence on the world market and is a major hub for online gambling, poker, and sports betting.


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