When it comes to gambling in the Americas, things are not as progressive as most people think. Only a select few countries regulate various forms of betting, and even fewer allow their residents to wager over the internet. In Costa Rica, private gambling is officially illegal, but it has been permitted de facto since 1886. The country is a unique territory because it lacks online gambling legislation, and its laws do not consider servers as locations where gambling takes place. That has led it to become an internet gambling haven, similar to its neighbor to the south, Panama.
What is also interesting about Costa Rica is that, while residents cannot bet on games that produce unexpected results legally, the Ministry of Public Security provides licenses to operators to offer table games and electronic machines to everyone. The country’s casino sector justifies its existence via its contributions to the Costa Rican economy. Consequently, no one faces prosecution for testing their luck at such venues.
Currently, there are around forty gambling establishments in Costa Rica, many of them in the capital of San Jose. They do not offer odds compared to top-paying casinos online but have decent selections of varied gaming products. The most popular game in these locales is the Costa Rican version of blackjack, referred to as Rummy. Most of these establishments cater to tourists, the same with the dozens of nightclubs, bars, and restaurants surrounding them. Below, we list the five best casino-gambling destinations in San Jose.
1) Casino Fiesta Presidente
Found on Avenue Central 7 in Catedral, in the heart of San Jose, Casino Fiesta is undoubtedly the most buzzing casino in the city. It is part of a chain of gambling spots (Fiesta) spread across Costa Rica. CIRSA, Spain’s largest casino operator, owns this brand. Casino Fiesta Presidente operates every day of the week from 11 AM to 4 PM. It is a two-story property with more than a few electronic machines, yet, it primarily focuses on providing a small but quality selection of table games. Most of these are low-limit ones that seek to attract casual players. There is rarely any high-stakes action here.
2) Casino Club Colonial
Casino Club Colonial is one of the oldest gambling properties in Costa Rica. It has been operating for over three decades on C. 11, El Carmen in San Jose. The venue is generally open twenty-four hours a day, except for Sundays and Mondays, where its working hours may somewhat differ in specific parts of the year. The gaming area here sprawls 4,400 square feet, which may be nothing by Vegas standards, making it one of the bigger Costa Rican casinos. It houses more than one hundred and twenty slots in this space and several table games. The Magnolia Restaurant located inside this venue has a terrific reputation and often gets listed as one of the top reasons people choose to visit this location.
3) Casino Concorde
Living inside the Irazu Hotel, about a five-minute drive from the downtown area, Casino Concorde has an identically-sized casino floor as the Casino Club Colonial. It offers two-hundred and fifty slots, nine table games, and seven poker ones. Juxtaposed to the Fiesta Presidente, Concorde looks and feels more like a gaming locale someone would see in an American movie. It also has a sportsbook, where bettors can lay down wagers using electronic devices and follow their events on TVs mounted on multiple walls. This area gets complimented by an exquisite bar offering drinks, entrees, snacks, and desserts.
4) Grand Casino Escazú
Opened in 2013, the Grand Casino Escazu is housed on the first floor of the Sheraton Hotel in San Jose. It caters to a more exclusive crowd, high-rollers. Hence it often hosts live events and promotions in its VIP lounge. The gaming selection here consists of fifty machines, plus live tables that supply punto banco fun and multiple casino poker variants. Casino Escazu also has a dedicated card room that runs Texas Holdem No-Limit and Omaha Pot-Limit cash games.
5) Hotel and Casino Taormina San Jose
Only an eleven-minute walk (six hundred meters) from the National Theatre, the Taormina Hotel on Avenida 11 in the historic neighborhood of Barrio Amón is one of the most visited casinos in San Jose. The hotel features a modern design with suites that offer majestic city views, Wi-Fi, and room service. The structure is a four-story-high building with a white façade, boasting a modest, simple look. Gaming machines dominate the casino floor here, which, in all honesty, is not very expansive. It should be noted that, over the past few years, this spot has turned into a male-oriented establishment, one favored by American tourists.
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