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Finance Ministry Wants Tax on Internet Gambling Sites

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
Published on:
Aug/28/2009

According to a report in Friday's edition of AM Costa Rica, the financial ministry is about to present to the legislature a bill to regulate online casino operations located in the country. Ministry officials said they hoped to get up to $100 million a year in new taxes.

That hope would be dashed should a good chunk of operators leave the country, which is what some have already suggested they plan to do should a tax go into effect.

"They (The Costa Rican Government) needs to understand our business and the consequences before passing such a law," said Mickey Richardson, CEO of BetCRIS.com, the largest and most established sports betting operation in Costa Rica in terms of bet sizes taken.  "Hopefully nothing will happen.  I think they would ask for our input and then we might be more supportive."

Richardson estimates that the industry both directly and indirectly employs some 10,000 people, perhaps even more.

"The industry pays above average salaries and contibutes substantially to household incomes," he said. 

The disclosure came from Jenny Phillips, the minister of Hacienda in the Comisión de Control del Ingreso y el Gasto Público. The minster pointed out that the virtual casinos are unregulated now.  She did not amplify what the bill would contain nor was the scope of the types of gambling to be covered outlined.

The minister said that the bill is part of a campaign against tax fraud and reforms so that the country can take in more taxes.

Jagajeet Chiba, Gambling911.com 

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