In its latest public statement, the US Department of State claimed that internet gambling is among the main money laundering channels operating in Costa Rica, where numerous sports betting operators have found home.
Apparently, the Money Laundering and Financial Crimes division of the U.S. Department of State has conducted a study reporting unfavorably of the central American state's enforcement measures and identifying several other criminal industries that it claims launder funds through Costa Rica.
According to the report, Costa Rican borders with Panama and Nicaragua annually see loads of cash in USD smuggled, even though the Costa Rica government has made some progress in anti-money laundering sector, especially with its latest legislation aimed at increasing international tax transparency.
However, the US government assessed there are "...still several obstacles preventing the Costa Rican government from properly investigating and prosecuting money laundering offenses," one of which is the fact that Costa Rica "…underutilizes" tools such as cooperating witnesses, confidential informants, electronic surveillance and undercover operations.
In terms of the Costa Rica law, the US officials criticized it for not being able to charge money laundering as an additional offence to another crime, a policy which “...greatly reduces the number of potential money laundering convictions.”
Finally, the US report claims that there are significant risks of money laundering in unregulated industries operating from Costa Rica such as online casinos and sportsbooks.