San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

What gamblers really won betting on Costa Rica

For La Sele fans Costa Rica’s 3-1 win over Uruguay was a miracle, but for gamblers willing to take a risk on a long shot Costa Rica’s victory could have been a life changer.

According to, on average sportsbooks set the odds of a Costa Rica win at +800, or slightly over 11 percent. At these odds, people who hedged their bets on a triumph for Costa Rica would have recouped eight times their investment.

After the game, rumors based on a fake story from a Costa Rica blog spread across the Internet saying that several gamblers won millions in Vegas betting on the exact score, but in truth sports books received very few bets on either side of the Costa Rica and Uruguay game.

The Tico Times interviewed representatives from two Costa Rica-based sports books, both chose to remain anonymous. According to the experts, Costa Rica and Uruguay’s general betting volume is lower than that of other countries, and the skewed odds deterred most of their customers from betting on the game at all, let alone placing large bets. The same is true of large international sports books.

According to Lee Phelps, a television and radio presenter with UK-based William Hill, one of the world’s largest  bookmakers, most of the company’s bets came in from Japan. The largest bet on Costa Rica came from a Russian who put €250 on Costa Rica at 15:2 odds and took home €1,875.

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