Written by: Joseph Falchetti, Editor-in-Chief, Pro Sports Bettor and Casino Expert
Last updated:
8 minute read

Costa Rica Sports Betting

Costa Rica Sports Betting

Costa Rica Sports Betting
Status:Legal & Licensed
B&M Availability:Lawful
Online Availability:Legal & Licensed
Minimum Age:18+

Costa Rica’s sports betting industry is large and growing. While the local authorities frown upon brick-and-mortar sports betting operations, the online gambling industry is a source of tax revenues for the Costa Rican government. Costa Rica serves as headquarters for several famous online gambling companies, which should tell you it has a permissive attitude towards online sports betting. A 1999 national law created a regulatory environment for licensing online gambling sites, while events in 2012 mean those sites pay tax revenues directly to the government.

In this guide to Costa Rican sports betting, I’ll discuss the legality of sports betting in Costa Rica. I’ll also discuss its unique stance towards online sportsbooks. I’ll discuss the best Internet sportsbooks for Costa Rican sports bettors while pointing to resources that will help you research sites for yourself. When finished, you’ll have all the tools you need for safe and secure online sports gambling while in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica Sports Betting Legality

Costa Rica’s sports betting legality takes some explanation. It is illegal to bet on sports in Costa Rica, but that applies only to land-based sports betting. The physical location of a server is not where the crime of sports betting takes place, so foreign sports bettors engaging in online sports betting on Costa Rican servers is not a crime. Neither is it a prosecutable crime for offshore online sportsbooks to accept bets from Costa Rican residents. Thus, online sports betting is legal and protected in Costa Rica, though residents should not gamble on brick-and-mortar sports.

Under the “Legality of International Gaming in Costa Rican Law” of 1999, Costa Rica licenses online gambling operations, much like nearby Panama does. Some famous online sportsbooks even headquarter their operations in Costa Rica, because of its progressive view towards online gambling. The famous 5Dimes Sportsbook and Casino is one example of such an operator, while online casino software developer RealTime Gaming has its offices in Heredia, Costa Rica — a suburb of San Jose, the capital. Most online sportsbooks operating in Costa Rica are registered as a “Sociedad Anonima” or “Sociedad de Responsabilidad Limitada”. Sociedad Anonima (S.A.) is Costa Rica’s equivalent of a Limited company, while a Sociedad de Responsabilidad Limitada (SRL) is Costa Rica’s version of an LLC.

Costa Rica Office of Money Laundering

Alvaro Montoya, Costa Rica’s Deputy Prosecutor at the Office of Money Laundering, is a good example of Costa Rican officials’ attitudes towards online gambling. In the spring of 2016, the US Department of Homeland Security called on Costa Rica to investigate and prosecute 5Dimes Sportsbook and Casino for accepting real money play from American online bettors. Homeland Security specifically wanted an investigation of payments from a 5Dimes account at the Banco de Costa Rico to companies in Malta and Dubai.

Costa Rican newspaper La Nacion reported Alvaro Montoya said gambling “is not a crime in Costa Rica”. Citing taxes Costa Rica had collected from 5Dimes since 2012, Montoya said his country is “hardly going to tax someone who commits a crime”. He added that he would probe “concrete information” of crimes under international law, but citing national sovereignty, his office would not become an agency to enforce US laws (UIGEA) in Costa Rica.

Safety of Online Sports Betting in Costa Rica

excellent sports bettingBecause the Costa Rican government has a largely hands-off approach to online sports betting, players should use the trusted online sportsbooks which accept Costa Rican bettors. It is safe to bet on sports online in Costa Rica if you choose well. The Legality of International Gaming in Costa Rican Law 1999 offers some protection for players because Costa Rica licenses operators, but you’ll need to doublecheck licensing before you fund an account with a site.

Go to the source, because of a few years back, one operator claimed it was licensed by Curacao, but Curacao’s national regulator had never heard of the site. At the bottom of this page, I link to Costa Rica’s regulatory agency, so you can personally research the safety and security of an online sportsbook which accepts play from Costa Rica.

Catering to Costa Rican Sports Bettors

Sites that cater to Costa Rican sports bettors need to support Spanish language play while having customer support representatives who are fluent in Spanish. If an online bookmaker does not support the Costa Rican colon, then it needs to support deposits and withdrawals using US dollars. Most of the trusted online sportsbooks do not support payments with colons, so it’s best to stick to the sites which use US dollars. New signups to Costa Rican sportsbooks should expect to find large welcome bonuses ranging into the hundreds of dollars while offering fair wagering requirements.

Ongoing players need a sportsbook to offer VIP rewards for continued loyalty. On top of that, Costa Rican online sportsbooks need to offer all the sports markets Costa Rican bettors like.

Online Sports Betting in Costa Rica

A breakdown of what it’s like to bet online sports in Costa Rica

Top Costa Rican Sports to Bet On

  • football betting
  • soccer betting
  • baseball betting


  • US Dollar


  • Spanish betting
  • English betting

These options may not be available at all sportsbooks but represent typical experiences.

Best Costa Rican Betting Sites

Trustworthy Costa Rican betting sites offer all of the features described above, but those which separate themselves should go one step extra. The best Costa Rican online sportsbooks offer other types of gaming, including casino games, poker, bingo, and lottery games. These sites should have a reputation for excellent safety and customer service, along with notoriety for offering timely, reliable payouts. Our recommendations for Costa Rican bettors fulfill all those requirements of a good online sportsbook.

Top Ranked Costa Rican Betting Site – Sportsbetting.ag

  • Accepts all major credit cards
  • Accepts Litecoin, Bitcoin other cryptos
  • Large assortment of sports betting markets
  • Competitive odds for betting on many sports
  • European football specific bonuses offered for the Cup

Why Is Sportsbook.ag The Best?

The SportsBetting.ag betting site offers most of the biggest sports, including Football, Baseball, Basketball, and Hockey (read review). They also have other international sports like soccer, rugby, and cricket. For the avid bettor, you can use their Live Betting to place bets in real-time. Pick from among dozens of different wagers you can place on a single match-up, along with great prop bets.

SportsBetting.ag offers new members plenty of bonuses, like their 50% up to $1,000 in Free Bets using the code “SB1000“. For those that use Bitcoin, can take advantage of their $20 up to $500 Bitcoin bonus using the promo code “BETCRYPTO“. Take advantage of their bonuses, live betting, and incredible sports betting odds with a sign-up bonus of 50% Up To $1,000. Check out Sportsbetting.ag to place bets and win!

Great for Betting on International Sports — 888 Sport

  • One of the most trusted betting sites in history.
  • Lots of promotions and bonuses throughout the year..
  • Some of the best betting software online.
  • Massive wagering limits.

Why bet at 888 Sports?

888sports supports 11 different languages (read review), including English and Spanish. Costa Rican bettors can get a similar experience to BetWay, but undeniably lower in terms of payout speeds if you don’t use Neteller. The sportsbook offers many international sports which you can take advantage of if you like line shopping.

888sports offers new members $30 Free Bets that they can use to bet on their favorite sports matches, teams, and players and an awesome bonus – Bet €10 To Get €30. This popular sportsbook also provides countless of other promotions you can take advantage of. Check out 888 Sports to place bets and win! Check out 888 Sports to place bets and win!

Costa Rica Deposits and Withdrawals

Costa Rican online sportsbooks support the full range of deposit and withdrawal methods. Some payments have waiting periods, especially when it comes to the high roller deposits that have deposit limits between $50,000 to $100,000. Most payment methods are free to use.

Costa Rican Deposit Options You Can Use

Credit Card: Visa and MasterCard instant deposits are free for Costa Rican online sports bettors, with minimum deposits of $10 and maximum payments of $30,000.
Debit Card: Visa Debit and MasterCard Maestro debit payments are free and instantaneous, with minimum and maximum deposits between $10 and $30,000.
Neteller: Neteller payments are free and instant. The Neteller eWallet has higher deposit limits of $20 and $50,000.
Skrill: The Skrill (Moneybookers) eWallet offers free and instant deposits. The minimum deposit at Skrill is $10 and the maximum deposit is $38,000.
Skrill OneTap: Skrill 1-Tap is a simpler way to pay for mobile sports bettors. These free transactions have minimum and maximum deposits between $10 and $13,000.
Entropay: EntroPay prepaid card deposits are free and instant for transactions between $20 and $30,000.
PaySafeCard: PaySafeCard (Ukash) deposits are instant and at no charge. PaySafeCard deposits range between $10 and $1000.
AstroPay: AstroPay virtual prepaid card supports free and instant deposits for transactions between $5 and $10,000.
Bank Wire: Free electronic bank transfers take 2 to 10 banking days, but have high deposit limits. The min/max deposits range between $50 and $100,000, so high rollers often use this method.
Cheque/Check: Bank check is a free payment method with deposit limits between $1,500 and $80,000. It takes 5 to 28 banking days for check deposits to arrive.

Costa Rican Withdrawal Options You Can Use

Credit Card: Visa and MasterCard withdrawals have a minimum cashout is $10 and a maximum withdrawal $30,000. Credit card transactions take 1 to 5 banking days, but are free.
Debit Card: Visa Debit and Maestro minimum debit cashout is $10, while the maximum withdrawal is $30,000. Debit card withdrawals take 1 to 5 banking days, but are free.
Skrill: The Skrill eWallet supports free withdrawals, with a minimum cashout of $10
and a max withdrawal of $38,000. Skrill cashouts take 24 hours to complete.
Neteller: Neteller provides free withdrawals, with higher cashout limits between $20 and $50,000. Neteller withdrawals arrive in your web wallet within 12 hours.
Entropay: This virtual prepaid card offers free payouts with minimum and maximum withdrawal limits between $25 and $30,000. Entropay withdrawals take 24 hours to complete.
Bank Wire: Electronic bank transfers take 2 to 10 banking days and withdrawal limits are $40 and $50,000. Bank wire cashouts are a favorite of high rollers but sometimes require a fee. Bettors receive 1 free bank wire withdrawal per month, but they cost US$9 apiece after that.
Cheque/Check: Bank check is a withdrawal method for transactions between $1,500 and $80,000. This method takes 5 to 28 banking days but is free.

Costa Rica Sports Betting History

Unlike many other countries we’ve discussed, not much is known of Costa Rica’s pre-Columbian gambling history, as the country’s population dwindled from 400,000 to 10,000 in under a century, due mainly to disease after the Spanish conquest. Costa Rica these days has a land-based gambling industry, including 52 brick-and-mortar casinos. Most of these are small, understated gambling establishments inside hotels. The gaming industry is widespread, with 25 different cities housing their own casinos. San Jose alone has 19 casinos. If you encounter a game called “rummy” in a Costa Rican casino, it has rules similar to blackjack.

The 1999 “Ley de Regulacion de Apuestas, Casinos y Juegos de Azar” established online gambling laws. These do not require licensing and registration, though operators must apply for a “data processing license”. Because of the lack of gambling regulations, over 400 different online casinos, poker sites, sportsbooks, and gaming software companies have operated out of Costa Rica in the past 20 years. Costa Rican sportsbooks are known for their colorful prop bets, including a bet on when former Cuban leader Fidel Castro would die and a wager on whether a hurricane would hit the United States — which drew the disdain of then-Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco. The 2013 Hollywood movie “Runner Runner” was a fictionalized account of Costa Rican gambling operators (from Russia), but it bears little resemblance to reality.

Costa Rica Sports Betting Resources

While Costa Rica has been home to over 400 online gambling companies over the years, it has no specific online gambling regulator. Companies that operate in Costa Rica are not required to obtain a gaming license. Instead, they usually gain licensing from Curacao, Gibraltar, Malta, Kahnawake, or Panama. If it can be said there is an agency which oversees online gambling, it would be the Commerce Industry and Economy Ministry.

Costa Rica Commerce Industry and Economy MinistryPrior to 2012, online gambling operators faced zero regulations, monitoring, and testing. Such sites were self-regulated and did not face taxes. Costa Rica now collects taxes from operators based in Costa Rica now, so sportsbooks face some monitoring and limited regulations. No wagers may be taken within the borders of Costa Rica from Costa Ricans. That does not preclude offshore online sportsbooks taking wages from Costa Ricans, or Costa Rica-based companies taking bets from international players.

About the Author

Joseph Falchetti

Joseph Falchetti

Editor-in-Chief, Pro Sports Bettor and Casino Expert

Joe is the author of the majority of sports betting pages on SBS and he serves as a gambling consultant to our content team. He's been mentioned on Forbes.com as a gaming analyst, and his articles have been linked by larger publications, such as the New York Times.

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