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Costa Rica Could Actually Start to Regulate Online Casinos Before 2011

16 August 2010 by Devon Chappell

Can you really blame online casino operators from locating in Costa Rica?

Can you really blame online casino operators from locating in Costa Rica?

As you may or may not know, Costa Rica is a haven for internet betting operators, ranging from sportsbooks to online casinos. That said, Costa Rica is also a haven for illegal activities, i.e., running sham online casinos – or at least online betting operations with no experience keeping a place of internet wagering from going out of business and owing bettors money they will never ever see so long as they gamble online.

Basically, Costa Rica offers betting site operators just about every incentive to be based from the Central American tropical paradise, not the least of which is just that. If you haven’t been to Costa Rica, it’s a magical place. Just don’t try to get in the way of any drug lords. 🙂 Furthermore, since online gambling isn’t actually regulated and taxed, and all that is required to set up shop in Costa Rica is the acquisition of a data processing license (fill out some paperwork), there is hardly a more affordable option running an online casino.

In other words, to many betting site operators, earning player trust and committing to transparency and responsible operational standards is not so important. Heck, if players aren’t bothering to get educated and asking the right questions, why should they be? This doesn’t necessarily mean that all online casinos operating out of Costa Rica are crooks. Some of them most certainly are. But there are other sites taking it upon themselves to foster transparency, obtaining accreditations and even publishing monthly payout reports – despite not be required to do so, as is the case in jurisdictions where true regulation takes place.

Considering how young the online gambling industry is, the word is just now really starting to get out about Costa Rica, which could eventually mean a loss of business and credibility for any online casino based from here. This is precisely why some operators support a recent bill proposed by Costa Rica’s new President, Laura Chinchilla, to begin taxing and regulating internet betting operators in Costa Rica. Obviously, this would provide more credibility for operators. The downside is that it will cost more for operators to do business out of Costa Rica. In other words, it’s the price one pays for credibility.

Although the bill hasn’t been passed into law (it is still lacking approval from the Costa Rican government), it is practically a given that the bill go up for a vote in September, 2010. And considering how badly Costa Rica needs more tax revenue to aid a badly hurting economy, if you ask me, it’s practically a given that Costa Rica will begin taxing online casino operators before the year is out. And at that point, we’ll start to see which online casinos are committed to earning player trust and which will be dodging town to set up shop elsewhere in a non-regulated, area of the world.


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