Costa Rica considers 15 percent casino tax

August 20, 2010

 

Lawmakers Tuesday debated proposed changes to a casino tax bill that would charge a 15 percent tax on earnings from casinos based in Costa Rica, but would exclude online betting operations. These would pay a one-time annual fee of $50,000 instead.
 
The original bill, put forth by the government of President Oscar Arias, proposed a 2 percent tax on gambling operations – whether they are Costa Rica-based casinos or call centers accepting international bets here – sparking concern in the casino and online gaming industry.
 
Should the stiffer tax be applied, it would generate an estimated $30 million in annual tax earnings, the Finance Ministry said.
 
However, that estimate is about $50 million less than original government projections for casino tax revenues. In July 2009, former Finance Minister Guillermo Zúñiga said a 2 percent tax would bring from $80 to $85 million into state coffers. Chinchilla has said she hopes the money will help fund citizen security programs.
 
Another motivation for the casino tax is to reduce the nation’s ever-expanding fiscal deficit. In May, the Finance Ministry reported that the public deficit stands at over ¢292 billion ($556 million), more than double the ¢127 billion mark ($242 million) registered through the first four months of 2009. The deficit, which currently represents 2.18 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), is expected to reach 4.8 percent, or about ¢876 billion ($1.67 billion), by the end of the year.
 
In 2009, the Tourism Ministry (ICT) reported that there were 53 casinos in Costa Rica and an estimated 300 online betting operations and call centers. In 2008, the gambling and betting industry raked in an estimated $4 billion.
 
“The principal idea of the bill is to regulate activity,” said Zúñiga, who is now a legislator for the National Liberation Party (PLN). “Gambling is something that we are currently not monitoring and, therefore, not taking advantage of. If we can regulate it, it could create millions of dollars for the economy.”

You may be interested

Jean Marc Calvet, part III: Leaving Marco behind
Artists
211 views
Artists
211 views

Jean Marc Calvet, part III: Leaving Marco behind

Elizabeth Lang - May 18, 2018

This is the story of Nicaraguan-based French artist Jean Marc Calvet: a man whose complex life, obscurities and misfortunes overwhelmed…

Traditional masks
Tico Times Pic of the Day
222 views
Tico Times Pic of the Day
222 views

Traditional masks

The Tico Times - May 18, 2018

Creating masks out of balsa wood, carved by their own hands and based on the their community's traditions, the Brunca…

Through adaptive surfing, disabled athletes conquer Costa Rica’s waves
Changemakers
289 views
Changemakers
289 views

Through adaptive surfing, disabled athletes conquer Costa Rica’s waves

Ellen Zoe Golden - May 18, 2018

Part I of III. Costa Rica already maintains a stellar reputation as a surfing destination. According to Carlos Brenes of…