Active players: 750.000
Currency: Costa Rican colon (CRC)
Regulated gambling products: Casinos, lottery, sports betting
Designated authority: Social Protection Board (JPS)
Operator types: Licensed and unlicensed online bookies & casinos, land-based casinos
Costa Rica, located in Central America, has the rare benefit of having a coastline in both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Adding to the beauty, the mountainous areas and the 200+ volcanos have made it a much sought-after tourist destination. Despite being small, it has one of the region's most stable economies, and political upheavals are uncommon. Due to the unique geographical spot and the low taxes, many foreign companies have opted to have main offices in Costa Rica.
Many gambling companies operate from within the country, stemming from the business-friendly economy. A local licensing authority adds another incentive to Costa Rica betting sites. For local residents, online gambling is typically prohibited, but no such restrictions are enforced in reality. The lack of an official regulatory body is another sign of the loose nature of betting. As a result, Costa Ricans have many quality options to choose from for online bookmakers.
Costa Rica sports betting - 5 things to know
- Costa Rica has been granting online betting licenses since 1999
- The legal age to enter a casino is 18 (this applies to foreigners only)
- All forms of land-based gambling are illegal for locals, apart from lotteries
- No licensed betting shops can be found
- There are absolutely no reports of prosecuting players
Best sports betting sites Costa Rica
When you have so many options available, you might feel overwhelmed. No worries, as we list the top sports betting sites Costa Rica offers to players of all levels and experience. Our team has reviewed in detail the odds, markets and bonuses before listing below the best bookies.
Online gambling in Costa Rica: The law framework
Locals are facing a one of a kind situation here. All forms of land-based gambling are illegal, apart from the lottery. However, countless Costa Rica sportsbook sites have a license here. The state is somehow trying to ‘protect’ its citizens by not allowing them to gamble in any of its brick and mortar premises. On the other hand, it is not stopping them from doing so online. Authorities aim to pass a resolute law for regulating online gambling, and since 2021 it’s in the works. Still, due to conflicting interests, it has been delayed.
Back in 1999, the USA presented the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act. It wasn't eventually passed but had already caused many gambling operators to seek to license elsewhere. That was when many of them moved their practices to Costa Rica; because it had no regulatory body. That’s how it started serving as a licensing jurisdiction. As for a Costa Rica gambling license, any interested bookmaker just needs to apply for a ‘data processing license’. Companies pay a USD 5.000 fee, renewable yearly, and they’re good to go. Since 2012, casinos have been paying taxes to the state, with a rather complex system in place.
Summing up, whether you’re a Costa Rican or a tourist in the country, you will encounter no restrictions when betting online. A word of caution, though, as Costa Rica sports betting sites licensed locally do not always have the best reputation.
Gambling on land-based premises is illegal if you’re a local. In practice, nobody will bother if you place a bet on a betting kiosk you may come across. Laws seem just to exist rather than apply. On the other hand, countless Costa Rica sports betting sites are waiting for you to sign up.
Having a presence outside the country makes it perfectly legal for you to bet through them. In addition, you don’t have to worry about taxes on your winnings; it’s all yours to keep. You only need to focus on distinguishing what’s best for you. The local Costa Rica betting sites do not reach the high standards of the renowned bookies we list here. Stick to them and expect no less than a safe and reliable betting experience.
The relaxed nature of sport betting sites Costa Rica offers comes again into play, as they can accept almost every payment method. You can deposit with a credit/debit card as most bettors do and benefit from the ease of use. Vouchers like Paysafecard and e-wallets like Skrill & Neteller offer increased privacy features and quick payments. And the next big trend in terms of betting payments is cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple and similar keep your activity in total stealth, plus the time needed for withdrawals is minimal. However, a thing to note is that you will rarely find a bookmaker offering the local (CRC) currency. So, pay attention to any conversion fees.
The future of Costa Rica betting sites
The Costa Rica gambling landscape is one of the strangest one may come across, and having a licensing authority perplexes it even more. If the government eventually decides to regulate the online market, which has been debated since 2021, it could drive several investors out of the country, hurting the economy.
However, reports say that the US is pushing the local government for severe restrictions on any domestic sportsbook Costa Rica offers due to money laundering concerns. So, authorities are kind of walking on thin ice. For residents, though, it seems that little will change as the international sportsbooks will likely still be open for Costa Ricans.
New players that look for a solid bookie to begin or experienced bettors wanting a fresh start are in the right place. Our best sports betting sites Costa Rica serve both purposes, as they offer top odds, various markets and lucrative bonuses.
According to the 1999 legislation, online gambling is not allowed; however, there are no measures or penalties for joining a betting site. Moreover, a local licensing authority gives another reason for the government's leniency due to the boost in the local economy.
You can find several reputable sportsbooks that clear our high standards in the list above. If you prefer a quick top-3, opt for 22bet, 888sport and Bet365. They have a successful history and countless satisfied members.
That depends on the license they got. Bookmakers licensed locally have low ratings due to a troubled past of complaints and shady business. On the other hand, sportsbooks licensed internationally (like from the UKGC or the MGA) have high credibility.
Due to the limited official oversight, every popular deposit method is available in Costa Rica sports betting sites. Credit and debit cards, wallets and Crypto payments form the landscape of banking options.