Infamous Hotel Del Rey in Costa Rica Shut Down: Was a Landmark in Sportsbook World

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
Published on:

It's the end of an institution.  The Hotel Del Rey has been shuttered by the Costa Rican government.  Anyone who has visited the sportsbook haven of San Jose, Costa Rica knows the spot well.

Anyone who is anybody in the world of sports betting in the last three decades has been there.  Our own Jenny Woo and her friend, CoinGeek's Rebecca Liggero, made history as the first females to visit customers.  Well, the working women weren't thrilled that these two were getting all the attention.

What happens at the Hotel Del Rey stays at the Hotel Del Rey.


The bar, which is full of hot women (all of whom are looking for sex), was considered a safe haven in the middle of an otherwise Hell hole when we profiled the establishment back in 2010 shortly after Ms. Woo's visit.   It was that year that a moving vehicle had fired a the busy entrance of the building.  One security guard was injured.

An anonymous tip moments later to police led them to the location of the vehicle that was abandoned in a parking lot on the south side of San José. The shooters had fled the scene.  This may have been the start of the venue's downfall as a more seedy element began to take an interest in the Hotel Del Rey.

We first visited way back in 1997.  At the time none of the women spoke English.  In the years that followed, many learned the language with the influx of Gringos.  Most of the women were from Costa Rica, Colombia, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republican.

A fun fact, The Hotel Del Rey was among's first sponsors.

"Many may cheer at its demise, and yet it may reopen again, but it will always be a part of Costa Rica lore." Certainly a part of my past... ~3 years booking bets and meeting all kinds of folks. Infamous Hotel Del Rey Closed By Costa Rica Authorities," Alfonso Straffon tweeted out Friday following the sad news of the closure.

Famed pro sports bettor Spanky tweeted out:

"Had many important meetings there over the years. Sad to see it go…"

It's true, there were many productive meetings at the place over the years.  It actually had a great casino and above average restaurant.  The rooms were not bad either (we were put up there one night due to a snow storm cancelling our flight).

So what the hell happened?

Costa Rica tax authorities moved in and shut it down for lack of payment it seems. 

Jagajeet Chiba, 

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