When Laura Chinchilla was elected as president of Costa Rica earlier this year, her pro-gambling stance was a light for many. Costa Rica has long been a haven for online gambling sites, due to the relaxed rules about internet gambling. Relaxed Costa Rican gambling laws make it easy to obtain permission to run an online gambling site in the country – all a company needs is a “data processing license” and they are free to set up an internet casino, poker site, or whatever else they like.
While Costa Rica has long been seen as a sort of tax haven for online gambling groups, things might soon be changing. Chinchilla has been talking about implementing a stricter tax on gambling in the country, which would be applied both to land-based casinos and to online gambling sites in Costa Rica. The proposed tax could add as much as 1% to the country’s GDP; this money would be used put towards a crime fighting initiative Chinchilla has in the books.
This month, the fate of this proposed gambling tax bill is due to be decided. Many gambling establishments that already operate online casinos in Costa Rica are actually happy with the proposed tax hike because it would officially recognize and effectively legalize internet gambling in the country. Current laws are fuzzy, and lately the country’s internet gambling businesses have been attracting the watchful eye of foreign law enforcement agencies.
The Executive Branch of the Costa Rican government will have final say over the matter, and a decision regarding this bill, along with other important pieces of legislation like a revamped Electricity Law and a ban on heavy-metal open-pit mines, is expected by the end of August.