Costa Rica Gambling Regulations

11 April 2018, by GambleScope Research Team

Costa Rica Gambling Regulations Photo

Costa Rica has for been for some time a hotbed for sports betting, poker, and online gambling action. The strange thing about Costa Rica, however, is the fact that it has never had a system of licensing like in other gambling jurisdictions. There isn't any regulatory body overseeing the online casino operators, who choose to purchase a license or operate out of Costa Rica. As of this moment, all an operator has to do is pay for a license and they are free to run their operation in any way desired. There aren't any laws enacted in Costa Rica to address the issue of online casinos. There is, however, a caveat which all online casinos licensed in Costa Rica must adhere to, and that is they are not allowed to take wagers from Costa Rican residents and citizens.

At the turn of the twentieth century, the gaming industry was generating around $1 billion a year revenue. Countries like Antigua had already been profiting by issuing licenses to online casino operators. Demand for online casino services was intensifying at a time when the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act graced the floor of the United States Senate back in 1999. This bill, while defeated, caused online gambling operators to reconsider their licensing arrangements. Costa Rica then became the chief beneficiary for the changes that took place at this time.

How does Casino Licensing Work in Costa Rica?

Online casino operators who offer gambling services from Costa Rica do not exactly inspire confidence in players. The fact that the only regulatory requirement for operators to gain a casino license in this jurisdiction is to pay a license fee speaks volumes. There isn't any oversight, and operators can operate as they deem fit. In actuality, Costa Rica doesn't have laws that pertain to online gambling, and when you consider operators are not required to pay tax, it is no surprise that it has attracted a few online casinos which are less than scrupulous.

Over 300 online casinos have made Costa Rica their base, each paying around $5,000 to obtain an all-purpose business license and then pay the renewal fee of $5000 per annum for licencing renewal. These companies are also not required to remit taxes as their revenue is from outside the country and they are not offering services to Costa Rican citizens.

In the past, some less than scrupulous online casinos which claim to have received a license from the Costa Rican Gambling Commission or any other derivative of such that seems official. It is important to note that there is no such an organisation or regulatory body in Costa Rica.

What Protection does it offer players?

Should players ever find the need to lay a complaint against a Costa Rican licensed online casino, they will undoubtedly discover that there is no avenue for recourse through an overseeing body which acts as an arbitrator. The only way to have issues sorted is for players to deal with the online casino operator directly. The nation has no central regulatory body which oversees player problems or to ensure licensed behave in the best interests of its players.

How does it rate compared to other authorities?

For all the reasons highlighted above, we can only give Costa Rica a 5/10

Costa Rica doesn’t have any strict laws that pertain to gambling, which is why online casino operators can develop their operations in an independent and free manner. This nation’s gambling license differs from those handed out by other online casino regulatory jurisdictions, as there isn’t a general regulatory body which oversees the affairs and daily running of online casinos to ensure they do not engage in nefarious activities and are not a danger to players. Online casinos can function thanks to a unique license called the Data Processing License, giving operators the opportunity to run sports betting, poker, bingo, and online casino games.

Should You Play in a Casino Licensed in Costa Rica?

While there is no regulatory oversight in Costa Rica, it is also important to note that a few upstanding online casinos are operating with this license. While some may argue that players new to online casinos should focus on the reputation of the casinos more than the License it holds, it still leaves a vacuum when it comes to player protection and safety. For these reasons, we would urge any player who is considering to play at an online casino licensed in this jurisdiction to do their research on the operator before depositing money.