Costa Rica is a Central American country that is known for its relaxed and laid-back lifestyle, stable democracy and biodiversity. For many in the online gambling community, Costa Rica is the place where over 300 popular online casinos are based out of.
Costa Rica is well known for its relaxed attitude towards online gambling services operating from its shores. The government of Costa Rica has so far not been tempted to impose any regulations on the internet gambling companies that operate there.
The complete absence of any laws on online gaming has made Costa Rica a very popular place with the gaming community worldwide. It is seen as one of the easiest places to set up an online casino at.
In Costa Rica, all types of gambling are legal. But Blackjack is illegal in many casinos operating here. Instead of Blackjack, you have another version called as Runny. But generally, the country has a very permissive culture when it comes to online gambling.
However, the Costa Rica government forbids citizens of the country from participating in online gaming. While casino operators are free to set up online casinos there, the people of Costa Rica are not allowed to play at these casinos. But that is not much of an issue for the gaming operators as most of their players are from outside Costa Rica, from North America, Europe and Asia. In fact, most of the players at these casinos based out of Costa Rica are from Asia.
Costa Rica Gambling License
Since there is an absolute absence of legislation and regulations in Costa Rica, there is absolutely no oversight on the businesses conducting online gambling in the country. Gambling operators function under the data processing license.
To get this license, the online casino company should have a network administration or internet administration. They should set up an offshore merchant account for handling all transactions.
The licensing fees should consist of a permanent license fee of USD $5,000. There should also be a license renewal fee of USD $5,000 to be paid every year and an additional USD $500 to cover the legal costs.
There is no betting or gaming tax in this jurisdiction, which means any revenues earned by the casinos from international players are not taxable. They can only be taxed on the revenue earned within the borders of Costa Rica. This makes the Costa Rica Gambling License really very lucrative as close to 100% of the revenue earned by online casinos operating out of Costa Rica is from overseas participants.
But This May Not Always Be The Case…
Indeed, if the Costa Rican government has its way, things are going to get a little more complicated for online casinos operating from here. The government has said that they want to have a gaming control board for regulating the online betting industry. Already, there are plans to levy tax on online gambling to the tune of 0.5% of the gross income to finance the functioning of such a board.
In addition to that, casino companies will be levied a tax of 5% for fighting crime. This new board will report directly to the Minister of Interior and Police in the Costa Rican Government. An annual fee of USD $50,000 is likely to be charged. So far this new regulatory scheme has not become a reality, but is expected to be soon in the near future.
Future of Costa Rica as a Destination for Online Casinos
Since Costa Rica does not really have any strict regulations in place to govern the online gambling industry operating out of its shores, online casinos based out of the country are banned by some countries. The UK, for example, has blacklisted all Costa Rica based internet gaming sites and does not allow British residents to participate in these casinos. That’ why, it is important for the Costa Rican authorities to have a re-look on their policies related to online gambling to be taken more seriously as a gaming destination.