How to get a gaming license in Costa Rica

Costa Rica Gaming license: does it exist?

Table of Contents

Get your gambling business started
Fill in your contact details and one of our specialists will get in touch
Set up a consultation:
By clicking this button, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

What is an online gambling permit, and why do you need one?

What is the first crucial step for anyone who wants to legalize a gambling company? It’s a license acquisition. This document allows virtual casino operators to legally run gambling sites and gives them an opportunity to cooperate with official software developers. Moreover, having a license can help to increase client trust and hence raise the amount of gamblers on the platform. 

So, where can you legalize your business with minimal effort and expenses? There are plenty of jurisdictions with convenient conditions for beginners and Costa Rica also offers very attractive ones. It’s not a usual place for launching an iGaming website, but it is a great choice for new online gambling operators. Actually, the Costa Rica gambling license does not exist, nonetheless, it is still possible to establish an iGaming company in Costa Rica. Let’s figure out how you can do it and if it is worth it. 

What comes instead of  a gaming license in Costa Rica?

Every year Costa Rica engages thousands of new online casinos. Their owners prefer to legalize gambling sites here because of the comfortable conditions for launching an iGaming business and pretty liberal Costa Rican law. 

In fact, Costa Ricans don’t have a special law that regulates iGaming, thus there is no need of obtaining a Costa Rica online gambling license. Those who want to launch a virtual casino just need to register a gambling company in Costa Rica. This action makes it possible to provide all gambling services (both online casinos and online sports betting) on a strict condition: your transactions should not be processed by local banks, and residents of Costa Rica should not play on your website. Continue reading to know more about gambling in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica online gambling laws. Is land-based and online gaming legal in Costa Rica?

Currently, Costa Rica does not have a special gambling legislation. According to the  Gambling Act of 1922, all gambling types were proclaimed illegal, but, fortunately, later government decisions and interpretations of this document brought the gambling sphere out of the shadows and made it partially legal in Costa Rica. To date, it’s possible to gamble in land-based casinos, which are located in Costa Rican hotels. Such entertainment entities provide customers with slot machines, card and table games. At the same time, land-based Costa Rica sports betting is subject to a state monopoly.

And what about Costa Rica online gambling or Costa Rica betting sites? As we already mentioned, it is possible to open and register such a company in Costa Rica, but it is prohibited to offer games to locals. Moreover, due to the rule that iGaming takes place when transactions are processed between customers and operators, it is also prohibited to make transactions through Costa Rican banks.

Launching online casinos in Costa Rica is considered to be the perfect option for those who are going to accept cryptocurrency as a main or additional payment method. It is so because after registering the gambling company in Costa Rica, you will be able to conduct online activities almost all over the world and receive payments in bitcoins and other virtual coins. This is a huge plus for casino owners, because the greater the variety of payment methods offered on the website, the more potential customers will come to it.

How to register an online gambling platform in Costa Rica?

Due to the lack of a special gaming license in Costa Rica, those who want to run an iGaming or online sports betting platform must just register the gambling company in the jurisdiction. It is needed to do it with the Costa Rican Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Economy. Note, that the presence of the applicant is required.

What documents are you obliged to provide for the entity registration? The documentation set can vary depending on the particular case, but we can highlight the most common requirements. 

  • ID documents of all applicants. For foreign operators, a valid residence permit of Costa Rica is also required;
  • A document which proves your right to use the premises that are defined as the office of your company (for example rent contract);
  • Certification of the legal capacities and corporate identity of the business;
  • A document which proves that applicants do not have tax debts.

How long does it take to register a business and open a casino in Costa Rica? Usually, no more than 1 month, which is also a significant advantage of the jurisdiction.

If you’re going to run a virtual casino or an online sports betting platform in Costa Rica, feel free to contact our specialists. We can assist you with the company registration, preparation of documentation and communication with local authorities. 

Taxes for Costa Rica sports betting and gambling operators

Costa Rica offers very tempting tax conditions for iGaming enterprises. Gambling in Costa Rica is not subject to a special tax. Moreover, there is no tax on income earned outside the country. It’s one of the most widespread reasons why operators choose to start their business here.

Costa Rican betting apps

Currently, a lot of gamblers prefer to play on their phones. Thus, mobile gambling and betting apps are very popular now. Costa Rica is not an exception: a lot of local operators offer customers convenient betting apps which are always at hand. In the list below you can see some examples of top-rated betting apps from Costa Rica.

Pluses and minuses of launching online casinos in Costa Rica

Costa Rica offers a number of advantages that make it a very tempting location for running an online gambling business.

The main advantages of operating Costa Rica betting sites and virtual casinos:

  • Economic stability;
  • Ability to accept cryptocurrency as a payment method;
  • Gaming company servers can be placed anywhere;
  • An ability to offer any virtual gambling services (bingo, lotteries, table games, slots or online sports betting);
  • Wide geography of coverage; 
  • No taxes for Costa Rica betting sites and online casinos that engage customers from other locations;
  • To start a Costa Rica sports betting or iGaming business, you are not obliged to be Costa Rican citizen (however, a residence permit is required);
  • Obtaining a Costa Rica gambling license is not required, which means there is also no application fee. You only have to pay for the company registration;
  • No need to test gaming software;
  • No requirements for financial reporting;
  • The Costa Rican law is loyal to iGaming.

The great plus of gambling in Costa Rica is the ability to run ad campaigns for your virtual casinos or Costa Rica betting sites. Due to the lack of gambling legislation, there are no marketing restrictions for gambling sites’ owners. 

Frankly speaking, launching an iGaming platform in Costa Rica also has a few drawbacks that we can’t help but mention:

  • Unfortunately, the lack of gambling legislation and Costa Rica gambling licenses in the jurisdiction is the reason for the low prestige of Costa Rica’s online casino operators on the world stage;
  • The obligation to rent an office and hire staff;
  • Since Costa Rica does not issue common iGaming licenses, not all banks, software developers and other virtual gambling operators want to cooperate with the local virtual casino operators.

Some time ago, the country’s leadership thought about legislative control of the land-based and virtual gaming sectors which are now only conditionally legal in Costa Rica. The President of Costa Rica proposed to organize a competent council to oversee iGaming and issue Costa Rica gambling licenses. Such measures, of course, could benefit the reputation of the country, but at the same time, the algorithm for launching online casinos in Costa Rica could become much more complicated. In any case, today there is no information on whether these changes will be implemented in the country and obtaining a Costa Rica gambling permit will become mandatory, or whether the government will change its mind about gambling regulation.


To sum up, we can conclude that Costa Rica is a perfect jurisdiction for gambling sites operators that are just starting their journey in the world of virtual gaming. One of the reasons is the affordable expenses of launching a business. You just need to pay for the company registration, with no licensing fees or taxes. Moreover, Costa Rican laws allow you to run a crypto casino that accepts bitcoin as a payment method. Nonetheless, it would not be superfluous to consult with LicensingAid specialists to understand whether Costa Rica is suitable for your business and the gambling services you would like to provide or whether other jurisdictions should be also considered. 

We offer:

  • support with obtaining any online gaming license
  • consulting regarding land-based and online gambling in Сosta Rica
  • consulting regarding Costa Rica sports betting
  • assistance in collecting the necessary documentation and company registration, which makes your business legal in Costa Rica
  • help with launching a crypto gambling website
  • design and trademark consulting
  • AML compliance
Get your gambling business started
Fill in your contact details and one of our specialists will get in touch
Set up a consultation:
By clicking this button, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.
Your message has been successfully sent
By clicking on the Ok button, you accept our website's cookies policy. Find out more.