Costa Rica’s Top 8 Online Casinos and How I Chose Them
Costa Rica not only one of the most beautiful countries in the world, but it is one of the most developed in terms of economy in the Central America region. In 2000s Costa Rican government has recognized the opportunities laying in the realm of online gambling and introduced its own regulatory body to online gambling entrepreneurs.
Unfortunately, not too much has been done except for establishing a gambling commission of its own. Gambling laws are not well designed yet. Also, Costa Rica gambling commission is known among players for the lack of proper regulation of gambling operators licenced by it. To put it simply, after an online casino gets a license of Costa Rican government, it will not gain much regulatory attention. As you might have guessed, it does not end up well for online casino players who often get mistreated or even scammed at such places.
So to say, I have not managed to find any online casino licensed by Costa Rica gambling authority that deserves to be in Top 8 rating. But the good thing that Costa Rican players can try their luck at international online casinos.
Somebody would wonder how it is possible since any games of chances for Costa Rican citizens are illegal (even at online casinos with Costa Rica license). Here lax gambling legislation comes handy, and in fact, nobody (Costa Rican citizens) gets prosecuted for online gambling in Costa Rica. I would like to say that such a situation is typical for many other countries when they make online gambling illegal but do not actually enforce these laws.
Well, let’s jump into my version of “Top 8 online casino sites in Costa Rica”, and further I will explain in details which criteria were involved in order to make this rating.
Top online casino sites in Costa Rica
The most important criteria for online casinos in Costa Rica
From the very beginning, I would like to notice that you could use these criteria on your own once you get yourself familiar with them. So that if for any reason online casinos from my rating are not enough for you, then you will be provided with tools to make your own rating.
I have made an effort to rank these factors from the most to the least important ones, but please keep in mind that only “reputation” really stands out among others:
Reputation. This is the most important ranking factor. As you may know, online casinos often belong to rather “grey” area and not always the law can be enforced upon them. Given that, players are forced to rely on good faith of online casinos in many cases.
License verification. License is secondary to how online casino treats its customers but an important factor as well. It gives at least some degree of protection when you can submit a formal complaint to somebody in charge. Some fake casinos claim to have a gambling license of some jurisdiction, when in fact they do not. I always visit the gambling commission website and verify that the license is valid.
Software validity. Costa Rican players may encounter fake casino slots which would be a disaster because RTP (return to player or house edge) in such slots is set at the lowest possible levels. I have a guide on how to do it with 100% confidence, and I have applied those techniques to each casino from my rating.
Spanish language. Being able to get services in your native language is a huge part of user experience. Fortunately, it is not a challenge to find an online casino with Spanish on its platform.
Responsiveness (customer service). How long does it take for an online casino to handle players’ problems is a big deal for sure. A casino must have a live chat, otherwise, I would not consider it for offering to Costa Rican players.
Variety of games. There are thousands online slots produced by dozens of software providers on the market. A casino must have at least 1,000 slots on its platform and other popular casino games as well. As you may know, some games are not available in some countries (why it happens?), but Costa Rican players do not usually face such limitations. However, I do the research regarding games availability to Costa Rican players (such info is usually available in “Terms and Condition” of an online casino).
Verification procedure. Costa Rican players are supposed to prove their identity by downloading one of these documents: ID, international passport or driving license. It is a common procedure which is applied mainly to make sure that the player has reached the legal gambling age. Fair to say, that some online casinos go so far and torment their players by asking them to provide many other unnecessary documents. No place for such casinos in my rating.
Bonuses and promotions. Every online casino player likes to get bonuses and Costa Rican players are no exception. At least welcome package must be in place which usually consists of few first deposit bonuses. Reload bonuses are less important since they are much less valuable, but of course, it is a good thing to have them as well.
Deposit/withdrawal methods and limits. It is crucial for any online casino to allow Costa Rican customers to deposit/withdraw at least with e-wallets, bank cards, bank transfers and cryptocurrencies.
Design and user-friendliness. Each online casino in order to be included in “Top 8 for Costa Rica” must have a modern website which is easy to navigate. Some challenge to Costa Rican players that the casino’s servers are usually situated far from Costa Rica which makes them work slower than they normally would. I have tested all casinos from my rating using Costa Rican VPN to make sure that they run smoothly.
Legal aspects of gambling in Costa Rica
Let’s divide this question into two parts:
For gambling operators, requirements are rather relaxed, because Costa Rica gambling commission does not do a good job properly controlling them. However, online casinos must have their web servers outside Costa Rica.
For Costa Rican citizens gambling is illegal and legal at the same time. It is prohibited according to the law, but in practice, nobody is getting prosecuted (there are no known cases so far).
So to speak, Costa Rica is a typical “grey” country when it comes to online gambling for common folks.
Legal Age is 18+. Since gambling is formally illegal, there are no requirements for the age from the side of the local government. However, you will have to comply with online casino’s rules (some international gambling commission requires it to be done) regarding the age. There are no trustworthy online casinos on the market that accept players under 18 years barrier.
Taxes. Given that on paper gambling is illegal in Costa Rica, you can not pay taxes from casino winnings. It basically leaves you with two options. Either pay 15% income tax and declare it as an income from any legal activity but not online gambling or do not pay taxes from such winnings at all. Both approaches have their own advantages and disadvantages. I would rather stick with the first one.
Self-exclusion. There is no centralized service for Costa Rican players to ban themselves from online gambling. However, it can be easily done at any online casino from my rating (for a period of time or permanently), if you feel like you are playing at casinos more often than you should.
I would like to emphasize that no Costa Rican player has gotten in any legal troubles for online gambling so far. But the situation could become different later. I will update this article immediately if the situation should change.
Spanish language is on casinos’ platforms
Having around 460 million native speakers, Spanish language is considered to be the second most widespread. There are hundreds of online casinos offering Spanish on their platforms. I have picked out Top 8 online casinos in Costa Rica keeping in mind that Spanish is the most convenient way to communicate for Costa Rican players.
Bonuses and promos for Costa Rican players
Some countries ban their citizens from getting any promotions and bonuses at casinos (why it happens?). This does not affect players from Costa Rica.
It is true that they are prohibited from playing at casinos (only on paper though), but gambling venues with international licenses does not care really and not only accept players from Costa Rica but provide them with generous bonus packages.
Payment options at online casinos for Costa Rican citizens
Given that gambling is formally illegal, I would not suggest using the most traditional payment options such as bank cards and bank transfer in Costa Rica. It is true that even if you decide to do so, you will get away with it for now. But if the government decide to enforce the laws properly, then you could get yourself in troubles.
Cryptocurrencies are the best choice for Costa Rican players, because:
They are 100% legal in Costa Rica. In fact, the government even encourage them allowing to pay salaries in crypto (at least a fraction of it).
Low or rather nil fees. Online casino does not pay enormous commissions when a Costa Rican player deposit or withdraw with crypto (unlike e-wallets). Therefore, it can afford much more generous bonuses for players.
Privacy of transactions. There are no third-parties in crypto which manage accounts, identify customers and keep records of transactions. Hence, you can be sure that any crypto payments at online casinos will be hidden from anybody’s eyes.
E-wallets, such as Skrill, Neteller and Ecopayz, make the job done as well, but have some shortcomings:
High fees for online casinos mean that players get less appealing bonuses.
Physical debit cards are not issued for Costa Rican citizens since Costa Rica is not in SEPA zone. However, you can get a virtual card, which is going to be tied to your e-wallet account. So that you can pay by it on the internet only.
In terms of privacy, e-wallets are great for Costa Rican players, because these companies are operating under the UK laws and do not disclose any information about their customers. Rather they do, but only when the crime took place providing that:
This act must be considered as a crime in the UK (not only in Costa Rica). Since online gambling is legal in the UK, then you have nothing to worry about.
Only British court can order to disclose personal info.
Casino Games offered for players from Costa Rica
Software providers do not restrict Costa Rican players from being to play in their games.
What about security at online casinos for Costa Rican players?
From the casinos’ side, all security measures have been taken properly. Though as a player you need to set a strong password (12+ characters long) and change it regularly.
From the legal perspective, there are no known cases of people being prosecuted for illegal online gambling in Costa Rica.
Live games which are available from Costa Rica
As Costa Rican players are prohibited to play at land-based casinos, live dealers feature comes to the aid. At any casino from Top 8 list live games are in place, and they are produced by different developers so that you are going to have many options.
Some questions you may ask
Do Costa Rican players need to pass KYC (Know your customer)? Yes, it is a standard requirement at any legit online casino. You’d better stay away of online casinos which do not have KYC policy in place.
Do Costa Rican players need to prove Source of Funds? It happens very rarely, only when relatively big winning took place (20,000+ USD) and only if the casino has strong reasons to believe that a player could be involved in money laundering.
Are there any casinos with CRC? I have not managed to find any reliable online casino accepting CRC so far.
Where should Costa Rican players complaint if an online casino has misbehaved? There are two paths: either file a complaint on my website (I have contacts of all managers of casinos from my list) or file a complaint to a gambling commission which issued casino’s license.
Are Costa Rican players eligible to progressive jackpots? Yes, you are. All software providers let Costa Rican players participate in progressive jackpot competition so that you can win prizes worth of millions of USD.
Top Mobile online casinos in Costa Rica
All casinos from my rating have a mobile version so that you will be able to enjoy any casino games on smartphones and tablets. Just download an APP from Apple Store/Google Play and you are good to go.
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