Online Gaming in Costa Rica

While the Central American country Costa Rica is home to approximately 300 online gambling companies, it still does not have legislation designed to deal with gambling over the internet. However, it is illegal for Costa Rican citizens to gamble online.

The absence of laws regarding online gaming made Costa Rica one of the most popular places to start an online gaming business in the early days of the industry.

Because of the lack of legislation and regulations, there is no oversight of businesses conducting online gambling through Costa Rica. Businesses operate under a "data processing" license. To obtain the license, a corporation must deal in network administration or internet administration, and an offshore merchant account must be set up to handle all transactions. Licensing fees include a permanent license fee of USD 5,000, a USD 5,000 license renewal fee, and USD 500 for legal costs. There is no betting or gaming tax, and revenues generated from foreign sources are not taxable; only revenue earned within Costa Rica is subject to taxes by the tax authorities.

In 2013, the Costa Rican government indicated it wanted to establish a gaming control board for online gaming. The Finance Ministry has released draft plans for regulating the industry. Included in the plans is a tax on online gaming of 0.5% of gross income to help fund the control board. Additionally, a 5% tax would be levied to fight against crime. The new board would report to the Minister of Interior and Police and would process six-year gaming licenses at a suggested annual fee of USD 50,000.

The new regulatory scheme has not yet become a reality.

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