Country Responded to Shrinking Sportsbook Industry
Costa Rica this year joined several other countries seeking compensation in the wake of negative effects on its economy because of the U.S. crackdown on Internet gambling.
Nearly a year after BetOnSports closed down its Costa Rica office in the Mall San Pedro, east of San José, and laid off 1,200 workers following the arrest of a BetOn- Sports executive in a U.S. airport, the global company closed in June.
Though the company had paid only 20% of the approximately $4 million it owed to Costa Rican workers laid off in August 2006, the Labor Ministry said in July it had no plans to take action against the company. Industry insiders estimated that about 20 of the 200 online gambling firms operating in Costa Rica closed down or fled elsewhere this year.
The industry fought back on two fronts.
The nonprofit online gambling group Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association (iMEGA), filed a suit in a district court in the United States in June to restrain enforcement of a controversial law U.S. President George Bush signed in late 2006 that prevents U.S. credit-card companies and banks from processing payments to offshore online gambling businesses. At year’s end, the suit was still making its way through court.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) had declared the U.S. crackdown anti-competitive in a 2004 report. Costa Rica joined several other countries in July seeking compensation from the United States through the WTO, but that suit was also ongoing by year’s end.
You may be interested
Give green in Costa Rica: holiday gifts that will live on all yearEd Bernhardt - December 16, 2017
A warm holiday greeting from the garden to all our readers. Another year has come to an end, and it’s…
Honduran opposition protesters take to the streetsNoe Leiva / AFP - December 15, 2017
Supporters of the leftist opposition in Honduras blocked streets in various cities around that country on Friday, despite political repression,…
Of snow, kindness and Northern Lights: a Costa Rican in Manitoba, CanadaGustavo Díaz Cruz - December 14, 2017
My mom named me Gustavo Adolfo. I was born in Puntarenas, next to the sea, but my home was in…