Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a popular jurisdiction for an online gambling company to be, ‘Licensed,’ in the sense that being licensed does not actually provide anything meaningful. One of the reasons that choosing Costa Rica is so popular is because only revenues that are derived by way of Costa Rican sources are taxed and foreign revenues are not taxed. Therefore, any gaming revenues that are garnered from individuals out of the country are not subject to tax in Costa Rica.

costa rica

Interestingly enough, online gambling websites are actually blocked to the residents of Costa Rica, so as a result, those residents effectively cannot play there. It would seem as though the only purpose behind licensing gaming companies within the realm of Costa Rica is that it can result in employment for some of the residents of Costa Rica.

Players Beware

With respect to actual enforcement of gambling regulations, there are no gambling regulations to enforce, so it is extremely important for individuals playing at a website, ‘Licensed,’ by Costa Rica to ensure that the reputation of that site is rock solid. In addition to the fact that there are no regulations, there is also no gambling control board (or equivalent) at which an allegedly wronged player may submit complaints of any kind.

In terms of licensing, the licensing isn’t even a meaningful gaming license, per se. For starters, a company needs to have what is known as a, ‘data processing license,’ by which simply means that a company is required to have a physical presence and servers within Costa Rica. Costa Rican sites, however, may not advertise to U.K. players as they are not accepted by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission.

While there are several strikes against online casinos, ‘Licensed,’ in Costa Rica, not all of them are necessarily bad actors. Costa Rica can be an attractive alternative to other potential jurisdictions for the purpose of licensing for several reasons, such as:

  1. No oversight. Just because an online casino has no direct oversight does not necessarily ensure that it will operate in a disreputable fashion, though in fairness, it makes it more likely the casino will do so.
  2. Saving Money. The online casino companies do not need to pay any tax on revenues that were garnered outside of Costa Rica, and Costa Rican residents may not legally play at those casinos (and are blocked from within the country) therefore, other than the fees associated with the licenses to operate a casino (which, actually, is not strictly needed to operate a casino out of Costa Rica) and the, ‘Data Processing License,’ the casinos effectively do not pay anything to operate out of Costa Rica.
  3. Availability. With no regulatory body of any kind to determine what players a casino may or may not accept, online casinos operating out of Costa Rica (unless there are laws within a country to the contrary) can accept players from wherever they want.
  4. Minimal Financial Requirements. Online casinos operating out of Costa Rica can essentially keep any amount of money, or none at all, on reserve to pay winning players as there is nothing regulating how much must be kept on hand. Furthermore, they do not have any agencies to whom they are required to report their finances on any basis whatsoever.

Once again, this section is not meant to be an indictment on online casinos either officially licensed to operate out of Costa Rica, as such, or those who do operate out of Costa Rica without a specific Costa Rican license. It simply means that one should be careful when choosing a casino operating out of Costa Rica. First of all, players should look for casinos who have been certified to be operating using fair software from an independent testing agency of significant repute. Secondly, players would do well only to play at casinos out of Costa Rica who have been in existence for a long time and have established sound reputations for not only fairness, but also for customer service and paying players in a timely manner.

Remember, if you play at a casino licensed out of Costa Rica without properly vetting said casino, then there is a pretty good chance that there will be nothing you can do about it if you are ripped off as there is no regulatory agency to whom a complaint can even be made. It is also this lack of regulatory oversight that makes Costa Rica a prime choice for unlicensed and unregulated (and, often illegal within the U.S.) bookmaking operations. While they may not be operating within an environment that has any regulatory oversight, the fact that they are licensed can lend the appearance of legitimacy.

Operators licensed in Costa Rica are shown below and we suggest you only play at those with a high player rating.

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