In the last few years, the online gambling industry of Costa Rica has experienced one major upheaval after another. On one hand, there’s the overzealous law enforcement and prosecutorial actions taken by the United States; on the other hand, powerful lobby groups are slandering Internet gaming and wagering operations in Costa Rica for the purpose of encouraging lawmakers to allow gambling in various jurisdictions. At the current rate of events, online gambling may disappear in Costa Rica by the end of this decade.
Writing for the respected online magazine Slate, technology columnist and investor Jon Nathanson recently predicted that online gambling:
[…] will be broadly legal in the United States by the end of this decade. It will start with online poker, which is currently legal only in Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware. But it will expand from there, both in categories of games and in geographic acceptance. This is already happening, to a certain extent: The wheel’s started spinning, and the ball is in play. When it drops, the video gaming business will win big. The makers of today’s mobile games will build tomorrow’s mobile casinos.
Mr. Nathanson’s wager is one that The Costa Rica Star can certainly get behind. This was explained in October 2013 by the bold move taken by the American Gaming Association (AGA) in adopting the film Runner Runner, which was based on a story about online poker in Costa Rica even though it was not filmed here, as a cautionary tale about the fictionally shady Internet gambling industry in this country.
The Runner Runner article was followed by another look into various other reasons why online casinos and sportsbooks are moving their operations out of Costa Rica:
More than two years have passed since Black Friday, and the online gambling industry in Costa Rica has shrunk considerably. In the sportsbook world, the proliferation of Pay-Per-Head (PPH) business models has consolidated sports wagering down to just a few call centers. Bookies with U.S. clients can make use of these PPH services and run their underground business from a smartphone.
Notice how sportsbooks can streamline their operations through PPH services that can be accessed by smartphones. Mr, Nathanson argues that the mobile platform will be the ace in the hole for the AGA to push their gambling legalization proposals through across the U.S.:
Worldwide, revenues from online casinos exceed $32 billion, and Juniper Research estimates that revenues from gambling on mobile devices alone will top $100 billion by 2017. As more states soften gambling laws, and more follow the example set by Nevada and Delaware, expect the $12 billion mobile gaming industry to pay close attention. Zynga, King, and other giants in the mobile gaming business won’t be content to sit on the sidelines. I suspect they’ll strike partnerships with state-based gambling companies to provide the software for the next generation of virtual casinos.
Since the great majority of online gambling and sportsbooks operations in Costa Rica cater to U.S. players, the gradual legalization in that North American nation will spell the end for the industry in this country -and it could all go down in the next few years.
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