Online gambling in Costa Rica is completely legal. It is so legal, in fact, that the country is home to more than 200 internet gambling organizations. These groups run websites that are licensed and hosted out of Costa Rica, but the sites target players all around the globe. Unlike some other of the world’s internet gambling hotspots however, Costa Rica’s online gambling scene is quite lacking in government oversight. Licenses are quite easy to obtain, and regulation is basically non-existent.
This has led many players around the world to be wary of sites licensed and hosted out of the country. Like in all situations, there is no reason to generalize on this level; instead, sites need to be evaluated on an individual basis. More importantly, Costa Rican gambling laws are beginning to tighten, and talks of stricter regulation have been in the works for a while. It will still take the country a while to overcome their reputation for hosting problematic gambling sites.
A case in point is a recent debacle in the US state of Kansas. Over the last few months, several arrests have been made in connection with an underground sports betting operation. So far, six men have pleaded guilty to the US District court. The accused, many of whom have known mob connections, ran an intermediary service taking bets from US players and processing them through an online sportsbook in Costa Rica. While most of the guilt falls onto the men who tried to profit from unlicensed bookmaking in the US, the lack of oversight in Costa Rica is also to blame.
The internet gambling websites licensed and hosted out of Costa Rica are not allowed to take bets from local players. Instead, Costa Ricans must gamble at foreign-hosted sites. The local government does little to prevent players from gambling at offshore internet casinos, poker rooms, and other sites.