Online Gambling

Online Gambling in Costa Rica

Costa Rica does have a law specifically designed to deal with online gambling, though it is home to more than 200 online gambling companies.

The Costa Rican government believes that the act of wagering does not take place in Costa Rica itself where the operator's gaming servers are. So companies headquartered in the country are able to offer online wagers and games to customers all over the world as long as they do not accept wagers from Costa Rica residents.

Because of the absence of legislation dealing with online gambling, the businesses and operations of Costa Rica-based gaming companies are not subject to the regulations, monitoring, and testing to which most offshore governments subject their licensees.

Most companies are self-regulated. Because there is no official regime to recognize license holders, there is no betting or gaming tax. Instead, companies operate under a "data processing" license.

In September 2007, the lawmakers from the Partido Accion Ciudadana introduced a bill that would tax sportsbooks and other electronic betting operations based on the number of employees on their payroll. The annual tax begins at firms with 10 employees with a fee of 10 million colons a year and reaches the top of the scale with a tax of 28.4 million colons for companies with more than 61 employees.

In August of 2009, the finance ministry plans to present a bill to the legislature that will regulate online casino operations located there. The bill would introduce a tax on online casino operators within the country.

This proposal is the latest in what has been a long and mostly fruitless attempt on the part of the government to tax Costa Rica's online gambling industry.

About Costa Rica

Costa Rica, officially known as the Republic of Costa Rica, is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the east and south, the Pacific Ocean to the west and south and the Caribbean Sea to the east.

Costa Rica, which means "Rich Coast", constitutionally abolished its army permanently in 1949. It is the only Latin American country included in the list of the world's 22 older democracies.

Costa Rica has consistently been among the top Latin American countries in the Human Development Index, ranked 62nd in the world in 2010, and is cited by the United Nation Development Program as one of the countries that has attained much higher human development than other countries at the same income levels.