Costa Rica and the USA

Gaming Compared

Gambling online
Gambling online

Online you will find plenty of information about playing at online casino sites in Europe and the US. What is often neglected, however, are the legislation surrounding the industry further afield. Particularly in South America. Many people are unaware of the rules surrounding the industry and so, don’t know about the tax rules or what games they are allowed to play. This is strange, as many online casino sites are based in Costa Rica. In this article, we will explore the gambling rules and regulations in Costa Rice in comparison to the US.


When it comes to legality, there are some elements that are very similar but also elements that quite paradoxical. The first similarity is that in general, online casinos and forms of sport betting in the country is generally illegal for residents, but how that works is slightly different. In Costa Rica, no resident is permitted to bet at online betting venues based within the country. In the US, this is only true for most of the country. It is legalized, for example, in places such as New Jersey and Delaware. Another similarity between the two though is that technically, residents can bet at online venues outside of the country.

Online gaming has grown a lot everywhere.
Online Poker

This brings us on to the second difference. In Costa Rica, anyone can set up an online casino as there is no real legislation, as long as it only offers its service to players outside of the country. In the US, casinos must operate within the specific state where it is legalized and must gain permission from the regulatory body in place there, which have tough regulations. The irony of this is that many US players will, therefore, play at casinos based in Costa Rica, as players in states where it is legalized can play at a casino based offshore and vice versa. In this respect, the two countries are effectively linked in their casino legislation.



In Costa Rica, due to the fact that there is no infrastructure for online casino and gambling there, taxes aren’t very clear cut. However, no matter how you look at it. Costa Rica has a very low tax for local businesses which is what a casino will be fixed with, while income generated outside of the country isn’t subject to any tax. Making it a great location for casinos compared to other locations. In the US, where casinos are legal, the tax will vary depending on the regulatory body, but one example to look at is New Jersey. Here casinos pay 8% tax on gross gaming revenue, alongside an additional community investment alternative tax of 1.25%. And so, around 10% in total is paid by casinos.


Gambling in Costa Rica is an attractive activity for tourists.
Gambling in the Jungle Costa Rica

Due to a lack of a regulatory body for online casino gaming, unfortunately, Costa Rica cannot be recommended. Although there are plenty of casinos out there that are legit that work there, it is certainly subject to its fair share of cowboys too. With no regulatory body to bring wrongdoers to justice, anything that goes wrong will be left solely on your lap. This is why certain bodies, such as the UKGC, have not whitelisted Costa Rica based casinos. Despite the draconian laws in the USA, they are still a safer bet due to the high level of regulation in place, even though the variety isn’t there.  

Hopefully, this has shed some light on the going’s on in Costa Rica casino laws.

Previous articleMarine Farms in Costa Rica Seek to Offer Alternatives to Traditional Fishing
Next articleCosta Rican Flavored Coffee
Creating a Conscious alternative news network that we feel the world needs. Pura Vida!