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700 US Marines Land in Costa Rica Online Gambling Haven

Written by:
Alejandro Botticelli
Published on:
Jul/13/2010

It is home to a few hundred online gambling ventures, many of which operate in the shadows.  Costa Rica has long been a country without an army....that is until now.

Some 700 US Marines landed in Costa Rica as part of an ongoing effort to rid the Central American nation of the growing illegal drug trade. 

The US Government has made it clear they are no friends to the online gambling sector.  Several principals in Costa Rica's largest online sports betting company, BetOnSports, were indicted back in 1996.  That company was forced to shut down and let go of some 1000 employees.  Both the founder and former CEO of BetOnSports are currently serving time in a US prison. 

Needless-to-say, this cozy relationship with the United States has a few operators on edge.  Throw in the desire by government officials to begin taxing online gambling businesses and Panama is looking sweeter by the day.

Panama, one of the fastest growing nations economically in all of Latin America, is now more than a pipedream.

When the old SBD Global (now transformed into SBG Global) and TradeSports (which primarily operates online as JustBet these days) began operating in Panama during the mid-1990's, that Central American nation's stability was still in question.  Both operations had to flee in the middle of the night after learning of planned raids.

Since that time, only a handful of online gambling operators have set up shop in Panama City, a cross between Miami and San Juan, Puerto Rico.  It has been enough time to gage the stability of the nation and, so far, so good. 

Packing up and leaving Costa Rica altogether might not be a viable option since a number of companies have invested heavily in the country (BetCRIS/Bookmaker.com owns a 9 floor office building there they built from scratch).  Industry experts believe we could see more secondary operations crop up in the country over the next 12 months, more so because of the looming tax efforts. 

In the meantime, the marines have landed, all 700 plus of them.

Costa Rica's President Laura Chinchilla is yet to comment on what the U.S. troops hope to accomplish at this time. 

It should be noted that even Panama has entered into similar agreements with the United States, whereby they opened two military bases ten years after the US "officially" left that country.

Alejandro Botticelli, Gambling911.com  

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