April 21, 2008 -
Let's talk about Costa Rica shall we? Believe me, as much as
I want to discuss the lush tropical rain forests and
naturally flowing hot springs of Costa Rica, and as much as
I would like to be sitting in those hot springs right now,
there is something even more pressing to discuss on this blog, and it's nigh time I did so.
So, you may have heard that Costa Rica
regulates online gambling. No doubt there's plenty of online casinos who call
Costa Rica their home. But hold on just a second. Calling Costa Rica "home" does
not necessarily mean that Costa Rica is regulating online casinos, poker
rooms and sportsbooks. In fact, it doesn't mean that at all.
Yep, that's right. Costa Rica doesn't
regulate or monitor
They simply allow betting site operators to host their operations from within
country borders - for a "nominal" fee, of course. So, in other words, the more
apt description would be that Costa Rica is a haven for online gambling criminal
activities. Now, I'm not saying that every betting site based out of Costa Rica
is a crook; However, attention must be paid to the fact that many online casinos
who have turned out to be rogues set up shop in Costa Rica.
Honestly, Costa Rica makes plenty of money
from their online gambling activities. So much so, in fact, that opposite to
just about every other country with legalized land-based casino gambling, Costa
Rica has recently been trying to crack down on brick 'n mortar casinos
threatening the welfare of its online gambling empire of sorts.
That's exactly what brought Costa Rica to
my attention and prompted me to set the record as straight as I can (never mind
the fact that one of my ears is higher than the other...not sure which). The
Tourism Minister of Costa Rica, Carlos Ricardo Benavides, was quoted in the news
this week saying that Costa Rica does not desire to become another Las Vegas.
So, as a means of prevention, new
regulations are calling for casinos to cut back their operational hours to 6pm -
2 am. Free alcohol will be going by-by, and any new gambling establishment will
be required to have 3-star resort amenities with no more than 15% of the resorts
total floor designated for casino gambling activities.
We'll just have to wait and see if the same
type of crackdown is imposed on the online gambling industry. I find it very
interesting how Costa Rica is crying bloody murder to the World Trade
Organization and seeking compensation from the U.S. much in the same manner
Antigua and Barbuda did when the U.S. imposed a ban on foreign internet betting
sites. In the meantime folks, please don't gamble at an online casino, or any
betting site for that matter, who says they are licensed in Costa Rica or who is
based out of Costa Rica. It's simply not worth the risk.
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