9/4/09 – Speculation in July this year that the Costa Rican Finance Minister was about to introduce a new taxation regime targeting online gambling companies has been confirmed by the publication Inside Costa Rica.
The publication reports that Finance Minister Guillermo Zuñiga has introduced a bill into the legislative assembly that, if approved, would impose a tax of 2 percent on the revenues of all online and offline gambling operators based in the Central American country – a haven for many Internet gambling firms.
Debate on the new legalization has been heated, particularly among online operators, some of whom have threatened to take their companies elsewhere. The local industry is now awaiting final confirmation that the law is in place, which will take the form of communications from the government and publication in the official “La Gaceta.”
Online operators have been quick to remind government that the industry employs thousands of Costa Ricans and expatriates who boost local businesses with their household buying. There is also the suggestion that the tax may make Costa Rica less appealing as a business centre in comparison with neighbouring Panama.
Mickey Richardson, CEO of BetCRIS.com, is on record recently as saying: "They [the Costa Rican Government] need to understand our business and the consequences before passing such a law." The online gambling executive went on to point out that his company has considered Panama as an alternative location as it has developed into a modern and impressive business centre.
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