Costa Rica Licensed Casinos
All online Casinos with an Costa Rica Gambling License
Introduction to Costa Rica Gambling Law and Regulation
While gambling is a major business all around the world in some form or other, many countries still keep it illegal as per law.
From lotteries, betting on matches, online casinos, and even land-based betting venues, there are several faces to it.
Costa Rica is a country in Central America that has been of recent interest to casino establishments, and in this article, we learn more about its gambling laws and regulations. So let us begin with a brief history.
As a new political state, Costa Rica is a rugged rainforest in Central America. It is a small country with coastlines facing the Caribbean and Pacific. Its capital San Jose is home to a lot of museums and the country attracts tourists for volcanoes, beaches, biodiversity, and recently casinos.
The wonders of nature and man-made architecture play a gamble with the surroundings where nature often wins. The country is deemed developing with poor economic growth and hence gambling establishments offer a good source of economical advantage because of which legislations are in place for making it free and sustainable.
It is a unique jurisdiction in Central America and an online gambling license is not provided in Costa Rica, yet there are hundreds of online casinos where you can play with real money.
If we go as far back as 2000, Costa Rica was home to over 80 internet companies and internet gambling knows no borders, so it was one of the heavens. Dozens of companies flocked to this country to make central America the leading offshore heaven for online casinos and offshore bookie heaven. So, at least 80 companies which were primarily internet gambling brands that take bets on sports, and matches around the world, set up their shops and offices in Costa Rica.
Lured by the tax regulations in the country beside Isle of Man, Malta, this looked very promising. They also had a cheap labor force who spoke English, along with Spanish, making it ideal for businesses.
Because of this surge in dominating the markets, Costa Rica started a history in the online or internet gambling market some 20 years back. It was not a part of any gambling commission jurisdiction or had any specific laws to regulate or restrict it, so this was even better for these businesses. Most of these were small companies with little to no obligations.
While this growth in Costa Rica Gambling put forth up to 5000 active people working in this sector, and that too with good wages, benefits and all, there were some concerns. The U.S officials were not happy with this growing trend. The majority of the internet or web bookies in Costa Rica had clients in the United States, and a very few focused on Asian markets.
The largest number of bets was on football and professional basketball, leading to their growing concerns. So, as per the US Federal Law, internet betting was prohibited then. However, as of today, it is becoming legal to have casino-style internet gambling and online casinos in the US states.
Costa Rica is especially attractive today welcoming online gambling companies with young people, with strong computer and English skills. It is a country with a good and growing infrastructure too. The country and its government are also working hard to attract high-tech businesses because they go hand in glove with online businesses.
With a growing number of electronics factories and hubs, Costa Rica is becoming a hub for gambling. Though it is not actively pursuing online casinos and gambling, Costa Rica has made it easier for them to set up businesses in 2022, and unlike other countries where it is legal, Costa Rica does not have any licensing fee for most establishments.
Although Costa Rica never had any special laws to regulate gambling, the companies were free to operate with municipal licenses under legal names. The age group of employees working here varies usually between 18 to 25, and they earn nominal from 600 USD per month to 1600 USD. Most support staff earn around USD 590. This is in contrast to an average Costa Rican worker whose monthly income is around USD 325.
The jobs created by these online casinos make up for the fact that they pay almost no taxes. When the US officials wish to ban them, it makes no sense, and keeping these online gambling casinos in Costa Rica inaccessible to their IP addresses may be one way to regulate gambling in the US. Many officials have tried to levitate the license fees like that of Antigua which charges a USD 100,000 annual fee for online casinos.
As of today, laws are pretty lenient. If you wish to play casino in Costa Rica, offline and engage in horse racing, and dog racing betting, there are several popular spots for travelers. The spots are both international and local and have great facilities. Most of these are available in large cities and regions which attract most travelers.
Many of these are located inside big hotels and major resorts too. Currently, there are 40 venues in 18 different cities in the region, and Costa Rica’s gambling laws and regulations cover each. The largest concentration of casinos is in San Jose, the capital of the country. You will find a whopping 18 casinos in this region. This goes to say that their laws and regulations may be very lenient or non-existent even in 2022.
Costa Rica Internet Gaming License
Because of the lack of significant and specific online gambling laws in Costa Rica, it is relatively easy for operators and companies to establish their offices and businesses. However, in terms of licensing you may need a data processing license, the requirement of having a physical address with postal code for the company in Costa Rica, and nothing much.
There are also authorized consultants in the region that offer assistance in getting this license too, making it way easier for businesses to set up a stronghold in the country with minimal to no licensing and taxes.
And, due to a large number of gambling sites based in Costa Rica, an internet gaming license was introduced to make this change. But, the license is still not mandatory for all to provide gambling services in the region. At the same time, most sites do apply for it regardless to stay safe from any consequences.
Gambling Regulatory Body in Costa Rica
As for the Costa Rica gambling license, it does not exist in the true sense because there is no online gambling or casino-specific rule. Operators need to abide by a single authority which is the Municipality or the Costa Rican Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Economics to apply for a data processing license.
This is the sole authority in this state or country and regulates all forms of markets, businesses, etc. These licenses are issued by respective municipalities, regional government offices, and so on. This is why it is so simple and easy to set up an online casino office in this region.
Although a major industrial hub in Latin America, Costa Rica does not have any online casino license to date 2022. Online gambling operations are free and encouraged. There are ways to establish fully legal online gambling in the country, as we write now.
All the games of chance were formally made illegal in 1972 by passing the 1972 Gambling Law, but subsequently, the doors began to open to legalizing it. And, today land-based casinos, tables, slots, and so on are openly allowed in hotels and parlors.
As of the current interpretation of their laws, online gambling takes place when there is a legal online transaction between a player and operator. It depends on where the transactions are processed rather than where the operator is based or located.
This means that even if their operators are based with offices in their jurisdictions, the government doesn’t make it necessary to get any license as the transactions are not processed in any of their local banks. These banks don’t offer services to citizens of Costa Rica to transact with gambling companies. Therefore, this is the only law or legal obligation there is to it.
License Provisions & Player Protection
As we just mentioned, there is a single provision for a data processing license which is also not a big deal because there are certified authorized persons to take care of it in every municipal region of Costa Rica. There must be a physical presence of the company in that municipal region because the licenses are issued by the respective municipality. The exact requisites for obtaining such a license may vary from one municipality to another, but we have a default set of requirements below.
- You have to provide a certification of the legal capacity of the company with proper documentation to offer data processing for the company. This is a basic necessity for most establishments of any kind.
- Identification cards of ID proofs for natural applicants, and certification for authorized residence proof. You may need the immigration department’s seal for foreign companies.
- A land agreement or rental agreement offering rights to use the land for the gambling establishment.
- A certificate that states fulfillment of previous tax obligations, and no dues.
This is a fairly standard process and can be easily obtained with the help of authorized consultants. So, when it comes to player protection, rights, privacy, fair gaming, and such policies, it is simply non-existent because there are no regulatory bodies to monitor and enforce the same.
While the gambling websites might declare and put forth such articles and FAQs, in case of any discrepancy there is really no authority to challenge their decisions. While many gambling and online casinos are genuine, many may be frauds or have a tendency to ignore customer complaints, and there is no guarantee from Costa Rica officials to protect users from casinos that are based there.
Pros & Cons of the Costa Rica Gambling License
So to be able to differentiate between the good things and the things that need improvement we made the Pros & Cons of the Costa Rica gambling license section. Keep on reading to find out more in detail about it.
Pros of Costa Rica Gambling License
The best advantage is the lack of taxation. As of 2022, the approx tax burden is USD 41,000 for up to 50 employees and up to USD 80,000 for 100 or more employees, which is very low compared to other industries.
- Costa Rica is not considered an offshore jurisdiction, allowing it to cater to USA and EU.
- There is a long history of solid gambling in this region.
- Costa Rica has a stable economy and functional government.
- Starting is quick and inexpensive.
- No need for guarantees or testing of games and software.
- No server location is necessary as well.
- No annual licensing renewal or other fees.
Cons of Costa Rica Gambling License
A lack of a proper gambling license makes it difficult to have international payment gateways for handling online transactions. Also, reputable services and providers may not give their games and casino software, which is also a downside. It offers a carefree operation but also players do not trust such casinos often as there is no player or privacy protection.
Also, this has led to a worsening of almost all online casinos in Costa Rica in the last few years. So, this further affects their trustworthiness and reliability to keep making money. This is also with the absence of proper payment gateways, making it difficult to deposit and withdraw money in time. The lack of this infrastructure is harmful in its way too.
Costa Rica is the Mecca for online casinos these days and from the 80 or so sites in the 2000s, it has over 400 or so today. Because of the good infrastructure that the government has invested in, online casinos and poker rooms are growing in the country. It has one of the best infrastructures to have online casinos in the entire Caribbean basin of iGaming contractors.
It has one of the best and most reliable telecommunication systems in place which is a necessity for servers and online transactions. Its multilingual workers and lack of online gambling and internet regulations have become a safe haven for the next generation of small-time gambling companies who wish to make money without much worry and legal hassle.
Gambling services in Costa Rica and its laws do not threaten their existence. Therefore, a lot of online casinos have chosen Costa Rica as a registration country to have their official addresses. Because there is no direct prohibition on the gambling business and is not illegal as long as their banks are not involved, it is not at all necessary to apply for any other special license.
Thus, gambling services are free to operate, open, and expand. In a practical sense, you do not need anything, but a commercial license is needed to conduct any type of business. To conduct this business, and offer gambling services to the people, you need some of the below things.
- A land-use permit.
- A permit from the Ministry of Health.
- A Costa Rican company’s legal name registered in the country.
- A commercial trading license.
- Registration with local tax authorities, despite not having to pay any for online gambling.
The Difference between Land Base Casino and Online Casino
While Costa Rica has laws that apply to land-based gambling and casinos, they do not apply to online gambling so far. So, once the commercial license is obtained, the corporation and clients are sure that the company will face no issues. This allows for lotteries, poker, cards, table games, slots, and all types of gambling services.
When a corporation is trying to register to offer such services, there have to be other concerns. To create a corporation in Costa Rica that will deal with network administration, internet services, and web, all internet addresses in Costa Rica must be blocked from the server because it is their strict policy that none of Costa Rica’s citizens should be allowed to participate in the gambling.
It is strictly illegal for locals. Similarly, one must also take the help of an offshore merchant not in Costa Rica to take care of the online transactions. Thus, the requirement for such a corporation license is as follows.
- Office lease permit and contract
- Health permit
- Insurance for workers
- A legal name
The Absence of Legislation at Costa Rica
Therefore, due to the absence of any legislation and oversight, there is no governing or gambling regulatory body. They are also not required to pay any gambling or betting taxes. Some shelf companies can get proper licenses and can operate with a fee of USD 28,000 for registering as a corporation in Costa Rica. And, by nature, the lack of legislation has a lot of legal effects.
So much so that these regulations mean that gambling companies in Costa Rica may not offer their games and services to residents in other countries that have laws and regulations on gambling, such as the European Union or EU, EEC, Switzerland, Canada, and Russia, etc.
So, offering games and gambling services will be illegal. Similarly, any allegations against these companies will not affect them because Costa Rica does not have an agreement with other countries to offer legal assistance.
List of Certified Costa Rica Online Casinos
Here you can find the best list of licensed and certified casinos from Costa Rica. So, as of this moment we are only listing 6 casinos but keep on checking the post and we will add more trustworthy online sites in the future.
This is one online casino available in Costa Rica, with up to 300 Euro in welcome bonuses, and up to 6113 games and services. This case has a very good reputation in customer reviews, and also in other jurisdictions. 22Bet is registered in Costa Rica as well and offers top software providers.
● Jackpot City
The country has another nice online casino that has mobile-compatible games, slots, poker, and many other betting avenues. With up to 1600 USD in welcome bonuses, 1st deposit, and 4t deposit bonuses, this is a powerhouse of free items and promotions. It has over 700 games in its portfolio.
● 888 Casino
Another nice fun and entertaining event comes from 888, which is a world-renowned brand today. Costa Rica’s gambling laws and regulations allow it to operate. Local players can use VPN services to enjoy it too. It has over 1000 games in various categories and even a live casino.
● Spin Casino
There are several online casinos and Spin offers USD 1000 in a welcome bonus package. With other daily promotions, jackpots, tournaments, and over 600 games and 400 mobile compatible games, Spin is also a decent player in the iGaming community.
● Gaming Club
This is an online casino that offers great perks like 800 mobile compatible games, 900 online web HTML5 games, and tons of software providers with great payment options. This casino also offers 1st, 2nd, and 3rd deposit bonuses ranging around USD 350.
● Leo Vegas
Another little popular brand of online casinos is also available in Costa Rica. Most of these come with nice tips, offers, and daily stuff. With free spins, slots, and game-specific offers, players can enjoy a lot.
Overall, Costa Rica’s gambling laws and regulations are nonexistent as of 2022. It makes this a tax haven for starting and launching new betting online casinos by registering in the country. As long as they do not cater to local citizens and use local banks, creating jobs and hiring workers is fine. Because of this, Costa Rica has a long tradition of gambling establishments, from land-based to internet betting.
Costa Rica Licensed Casinos FAQ
There is no cost except for one-time infrastructure establishment, data processing license, and basic foundation costs.
Yes, you can open land-based casinos with a commercial license, and can open online gambling services too with some limitations. Yes, it is illegal to offer to gamble to Costa Rica citizens or use its banks for handling online transactions.
There is no tax for online gambling services and companies in Costa Rica, which is the best thing for opening your business. But, this also comes at a cost as there is no license or regulatory body in this jurisdiction.