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The Costa Rica Gaming License: Does it Even Exist?

The Costa Rica Gaming License: Does it Even Exist?

Once in a while, you might come across an online casino or bookmaker based in Costa Rica. And you might ask yourself how trustworthy operators under this jurisdiction are. Unfortunately, this question is not that easy to answer. When consulting Google on this topic, you won’t be able to find much official information about online gambling licenses in Costa Rica. This begs the question about if online casinos based in the country are properly regulated and licensed at all. Well, we have the answers. Keep on reading to find out more about the current situation…

Does Costa Rica offer an online casino license?

Not too long ago, the Central American country of Costa Rica hosted more than 300 online gaming companies. However, the numbers have dropped significantly in recent years. There is still no regulatory framework governing online casino games or eGaming. Therefore, there is no official Costa Rican online gaming license designed to deal with online casinos or sports betting sites. But why is it that so many online casinos are based in the country, then? Instead of a typical gambling license, operators can apply for a so-called “data processing license” that enables them to set up a base within the country. This is relatively simple, affordable, and it provides the companies with a lot of freedom. 

The operations of online gambling or online gaming companies based in Costa Rica are not regulated, supervised, or specifically authorized in any way but still allows such services. Of course, this is great for operators, as they don’t have any strict regulations to consider. On top of all this, it doesn’t require a large investment to get the ball rolling. For players, on the other hand, this situation doesn’t provide much safety or reliability at all. But we’ll have a closer look at what that means later on.

A Costa Rican gaming board?

The recently elected President Luis Guillermo Solís hoped to establish a gaming control board for online games. The Ministry of Finance has published draft plans to regulate this industry once and for all. Since online gambling is not regulated right now, there are no gambling taxes in the country. As a result, the plan includes an online gambling tax of 0.5% of the gross income of gambling operators to help fund the gaming control board. The new council is supposed to report to the Minister of the Interior and Police. 

Furthermore, it has been proposed that casino licenses should be valid for a six-year period. The suggested annual cost is $50,000. This proposal is the latest in what has been a long and (so far) unsuccessful attempt by the government to regulate the online gambling industry. None of this has materialized yet, and it’s written in the stars if this plan will ever come to fruition. 

Gambling Authority in Costa Rica

Playing at an online casino in the country

Generally, we do not recommend playing at an online casino that is based in Costa Rica. As there is no proper regulation in place at this point, you do not have any legal grounds if something goes wrong. But maybe we should have a look at some of the key benefits for players that are playing at properly licensed online casinos instead. There are many other solid casino licenses out there, but which one of them is relevant for you highly depends on your country of residence. As an example, you could play at a casino site licensed and regulated by the Maltese gambling authority. This is one of the most trustworthy and renowned regulators in Europe. 

Casinos under this jurisdiction can only offer provably fair games. Random number generators (RNGs) are subject to regular audits to make sure players have a fair chance of winning. Furthermore, operators under this jurisdiction must provide players with adequate tools to support them when it comes to responsible gambling. This includes deposit limits, time limits, and the option to exclude yourself from the site. If an online casino does not abide by the rules and fails to protect its players it will be held accountable. More importantly, the player can reach out to the licensor to seek help if he or she feels treated unfairly. There are also specific rules in place to verify players that contribute to a safe gambling environment. This keeps minors out of the casinos and helps to fight money laundering attempts at the same time. 

The Costa Rica gaming license – Conclusion

While we only scratched the surface of all the advantages that a proper casino license can offer you. However, one thing is for certain. You won’t get any of these benefits while playing at an online casino based in Costa Rica. As of now, the country does not issue a proper casino license, and the so-called “data processing license” is not an adequate replacement for it. 

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