Costa Rica is the Las Vegas of online gaming, with more than 300 companies that offer sports betting, casino games and poker rooms calling the country home.
Costa Rica has a long, rich history with all forms of gambling, but why has it become the Mecca for online gaming? There are three basic reasons: it has the best infrastructure, including a reliable telecommunication system, available in the Caribbean basin; it has well-educated, multilingual workers; and it lacks prohibitive online gaming and Internet regulations.
Establishing a gaming company in Costa Rica is very straightforward, essentially involving just three steps: setting up a Costa Rican Corporation, obtaining a Data Processing License, and opening a Costa Rican bank account.
Lic Giovanna Barrantes of the Costa Rican legal firm Barrantes & Associates is an expert in this area of law and regularly helps set up companies that want to establish gaming activities in the country.
Barrantes says setting up a corporation is the first step, as that is necessary for establishing any gaming business. The cost of set up includes incorporation, taxes, shares, and legal books. Barrantes can also assist with obtaining a Data Processing License, which can be requested in the City Hall of San Jose. The license includes zoning approval, health department approval, and processing of insurance for employees.
Barrantes adds that setting up a Costa Rican bank account is a simple process that is a requirement for new companies.
The entire country of Costa Rica has thrived because of online gaming. The industry has directly created more than 10,000 jobs and supports thousands of secondary, skilled positions in telecommunications, software development, web design and construction. The online gambling industry generates billions of dollars in revenue for the country, and that’s without a direct tax on company profits made outside the country.
The country has welcomed revenue and jobs that other countries have rejected, much to their disadvantage. In the U.S., for example, prohibitive legislation has made it virtually impossible to host a legal casino online in the country.
Four years ago, the U.S. government tried to essentially shut down Costa Rica’s online casino industry, but Costa Rica fought those attempts, filing an arbitration application with the World Trade Organization. The WTO supported Costa Rica’s right to host online gambling establishments.
After making the bold decision to not impose heavy restrictions on online gambling when the industry was in its infancy in the mid-1990s, Costa Rica has become a world leader.