Simon’s Guide to Gambling and Casinos in Costa Rica

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This is a picture of the Grand Casino, the biggest casino in Costa Rica. The picture shows the interior of the casino and the various slots and video poker machines lining its walls.

Grand Casino Costa Rica

 

Gambling is legal in Costa Rica, and is regulated by the Ley de Regulación de Apuestas, Casinos y Juegos de Azar, the Costa Rican gambling law. Costa Rica has a gambling commission tasked with developing gambling legislation as well as appointing members of the gambling superintendency. The latter body is responsible for supervising gambling in the country.

In accordance with the gambling regulations, any company wishing to provide gambling services in or from the country must apply for a licence. Applicants are required to be incorporated in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica is a lucrative country for online gambling operators as well. It is forbidden for locals to participate in online gambling of any kind, but it is rather easy to obtain a licence and operate an online gambling site from Costa Rica. The main reason for this is, that there are no specific online gambling licences; companies can apply for a data processing licence instead.

As a result, there are practically no laws regulating the actual gambling aspect of companies licensed in Costa Rica. While this is definitely positive for gambling operators wishing to acquire a licence, it also means that Costa Rica-licensed online gambling sites are rather unreliable and barely supervised. This poses a risk for players on such sites, as rules – e.g. payouts – can not be enforced.* We strongly recommend everyone to avoid Costa Rican licensed online gambling websites.

Online gambling is not the only thing prohibited for residents of Costa Rica: It is forbidden to bet on games with a random outcome. This rule might seem to outlaw all forms of gambling, but that is not the case; in fact it’s rather controversial what forms of gambling are legal and what aren’t. For example, many casinos state that blackjack is illegal  though it’s available in others – but there is a game called rummy available in many gambling establishments, with practically the same rules as blackjack.**

 

*Source: Poker Licenses, Sportbook Licence, Lottery and Gaming Licences in Costa Rica (Slogold)

**Source: Gambling in Costa Rica (Wizard of Odds)

 

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Summary:

 

 

Casino gambling in Costa Rica

 

Online casino gambling in Costa Rica: illegal, players are not prosecuted

 

Casino gambling is legal in Costa Rica, and casino operators are required to have a gambling licence to offer gambling services in the country. Casinos are not allowed to be open 24 hours a day, only between 6 p.m. and 2 a.m. Most casinos in Costa Rica are located in or near the capital, San José.

While casino gambling in general is legal in Costa Rica, regulation regarding specific games is somewhat confusing. There is a law against betting on games with a random outcome, but this prohibition is rather vague. Blackjack is considered illegal in some casinos, though available in others. Rummy, a blackjack variant is also on offer in many casinos. Other games available include slot machines, poker and roulette.

Online gambling sites can apply for a gambling permit in Costa Rica in the form of a data-processing license. However, they may not offer gambling services to locals, as online gambling is currently banned. Foreign online gambling sites may be blocked by ISPs but players placing bets in foreign online casinos are not prosecuted.

 

 

Bingo in Costa Rica

 

Online bingo in Costa Rica: illegal, players are not prosecuted

 

Bingo has no tradition in Costa Rica, but the game has been steadily gaining in popularity in the past years. Bingo is available in many of the Costa Rican casinos and there are some dedicated bingo halls in the country as well.

Costa Rica issues gambling licenses to various companies, including online bingo operators. However, these companies may not offer their services to Costa Ricans. While this rule is rather strictly enforced, locals can play on international bingo sites with no repercussions.

 

 

Poker in Costa Rica

 

Online poker in Costa Rica: illegal, players are not prosecuted

 

Poker is most often considered legal in Costa Rica, though some believe it falls under the vague ban on betting on games with a random outcome. Still, poker is available in many of the casinos in Costa Rica. Games on offer include Texas Hold’em, Caribbean Stud, Pai Gow and video poker machines.

Costa Rica issues gambling licenses to various companies, including online poker operators. However, these companies may not offer their services to Costa Ricans. While this rule is rather strictly enforced, locals can play on international poker sites with no repercussions.

 

 

Sports betting in Costa Rica

 

Online sports betting in Costa Rica: illegal, players are not prosecuted

 

Sports betting is legal in Costa Rica. Sports betting is, in theory, available at several brick and mortar betting shops as well as casinos, but according to some accounts this option often remains theoretical.

Costa Rica issues gambling licenses to various companies, including online sports betting operators. However, these companies may not offer their services to Costa Ricans. While this rule is rather strictly enforced, locals can play on international sports betting sites with no repercussions.

 

 

Lottery in Costa Rica

 

Online lottery in Costa Rica: illegal, players are not prosecuted 

 

Lottery is legal in Costa Rica, and is perhaps the most popular form of gambling among the locals. The country has a national lottery called Punto Max, offering various number games. Lottery tickets and scratchcards are available at many physical retailers throughout the country, but the lottery has no online version.

This leaves Costa Ricans with no legal online lottery options. Costa Rica issues gambling licenses to various companies, including online lottery operators. However, these companies may not offer their services to Costa Ricans. While this rule is rather strictly enforced, locals are free to participate in international lottery draws available to them.

 

 

Bitcoin gambling in Costa Rica

 

Bitcoin gambling in Costa Rica: illegal, players are not prosecuted

 

Bitcoin gambling is not specifically regulated in Costa Rica, though it is likely considered illegal as other forms of online gambling are. There are, in fact, Bitcoin casinos licensed in Costa Rica, but these gambling sites are required to block players from Costa Rica. Locals are free, however, to play on foreign Bitcoin gambling sites.

 

 

Online gambling websites accepting players from Costa Rica

 

Even though Costa Rica issues “gambling” licenses (data processing licenses actually, avoid online casino registered in Costa Rica at all cost), these online casinos are required to not to accept players from Costa Rica.

However, players who place bets on foreign online casinos are not prosecuted.

The following online casinos accept players from Costa Rica.

 

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BGO casino – accepting players from Costa Rica

Euro online casino

Casino Euro – accepting players from Costa Rica

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32 Red casino accepting players from Costa Rica

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32 Red online bookmaker, sports betting website – accepting players from Costa Rica

black_lotus_casino_bonus

Black Lotus casino accepting players from Costa Rica

 

 

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This page is part of Simon’s List – Legal Status of Online Gambling – a definitive guide to the legal status of all forms of online gambling activities in every country around the world.

 

Last updated: 2015. 10. 30.

Summary
Article Name
Simon's Guide to Gambling and Casinos in Costa Rica
Description
This guide focuses on casino gambling and various forms of online gambling in costa rica. Their infamous online gambling licensing system is also mentioned.
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