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13/10/13 - Calling time on Costa Rica for online casino


The US Money Laundering and Financial Crimes report issued by the U.S. Department of State on the situation in Costa Rica calls the country a heaven for money laundering. The State Department slams the Costa Rican jurisdiction as a place where internet wagering and drug money are cleaned and stashed.


The State Department was critical of the way Costa Rica handles money laundering crimes. The US says there are not enough methods to detect money laundering and in addition, if someone is charged with laundering cannot be charged with it as an additional offense.


Costa Rica has been the host nation for many internet wagering service providers and the sports books and online casinos have been the target of American law and tax enforcers before. The multi-million dollar industry lives partially in the shadows for a number of reasons but mostly because of the constant pressure applied by law enforcement and prosecutors from the United States.


The online gambling industry in Costa Rica is starting to show signs of strain as the situation in Costa Rica become embroiled in controversy. The entrepreneurs in Costa Rica who developed an industry that produces billions of dollars each year are under threat from sources such as the American Gaming Association which has bought advertising slamming the industry in Costa Rica portraying it in a negative light.


Along with the presence of American law enforcement in the country and increased inflation and budget deficits, internet gambling in Costa Rica has had its day.


The early years of the 21st century were essentially the golden age of online gambling in Costa Rica. Sports bookies and poker entrepreneurs from the U.S.A. were happy to be able to operate in relative freedom. From 2000 to 2004, federal law enforcement agents from the USA executed arrest warrants in Costa Rica of individuals allegedly involved in online sports book operations. Then in 2005 and 2006, two of the biggest global brands in online gambling were subject to raids by U.S. law enforcement officers in Costa Rica with the accusation that these people were involved in money laundering operations violating America’s Wire Act.


Since the various attacks on the industry from the US legal teams, many online gambling firms have found other more secure environments in Europe to offer their services and conduct their business without fear of arrest or prosecution.


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