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Online Casino News - December, 2008

Former Online Casino Operator Arrested in Costa Rica



  Seed Newsvine

by Devon Chappell, News Staff Writer

December 13, 2008

When it comes to online gambling, Costa Rica has long been known to be a haven for online casino, poker room and sportsbook operators. With so many internet betting operations based here, one would think that online gaming regulation is embraced by the the Costa Rican government. Or, one might think it was entirely the other way around. In all actuality, it's kind of somewhere in the middle. While Costa Rica does not regulate in the sense that the UK Gambling Commission regulates, it does license betting operations.

In other words, Costa Rica makes a pretty penny in licensing fees. Companies are bound by specific conditions of these licenses, yet do not receive the regulation necessary for instilling a high level of player trust. Basically, it's up to the online casinos themselves to obtain these credentials when not required to by Costa Rica laws.

The fact of the matter is that Costa Rica has been home to its fair share of blacklisted online casinos. And not that jurisdictions like Kahnawake and Curacao haven't seen their fair share as well, the difference is that Costa Rica doesn't have the legislation in place to efficiently put an end to establishments cheating players. It also doesn't have strict licensing conditions in place that could theoretically keep shady businesses and organized crime rings from setting up shop.

Case in point (which happens to be the motivation of this article in the first place) was the recent arrest of American "Jeff Pearson", who according to AM Costa Rica, was hit with 450 charges of fraud and stealing an estimated $13 million from U.S. citizens. Pearson apparently was operating a call center out of Costa Rica for the last four years (disguised, of course), selling products ranging from energy supplements to health insurance. And while this has nothing to do with online gambling per say, the interesting part is that Pearson is believed to be the same Jeff Pearson behind the unsuccessful Costa Rica licensed online casino, Lucky's Casino.

I suppose the lesson of this article is: Play with caution at online gambling sites licensed in Costa Rica. Unless the operators have earned themselves an excellent reputation and hold additional credentials that establish their fairness and safety (and indeed, there are some out there), you should think twice about opening an account at a an "unheard of" gaming site out of Costa Rica.



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