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Legislation

Costa Rica – Costa Rica cracks down on illegal slots

By - 6 October 2014

The Costa Rican Tourism Board has launched a new campaign aimed at ending illegal gaming on the island and will enforce new powers granted to it by Law No. 77. Under current rules slot parlours are illegal as are slot machines outside of casinos are banned.

The Director of the Tourism Ministry, Ingrid I .Rivera Rocafort, announced the launch of a new campaign aimed at educating operators of so-called “adult entertainment machines” as they are known locally which by law are not allowed to hand out prizes.

“As part of our ministerial responsibility, we have launched an educational campaign in order to guide the owners of these machines on the provisions of Law 77, which establishes the requirements that must be followed to operate them responsibly and in full compliance with the laws of the country,” she said in a statement.

The director explained that the new campaign would use local media, including the distribution of a brochure with information on the law which went into effect last July. The legislation gave the Costa Rican Tourism Board the authority to monitor and supervise the operation of gaming machines.

Violation of the provisions of the Act carries fines ranging from US$ 5,000 up to US$10,000 per violation. In addition, criminal penalties may also now be imposed on those found to be breaking the law.

The news was welcomed by President of the Puerto Rican Hotel and Tourism Association, Ismael Vega who said: “ We welcome the signing of the Number 77 Act, as we understand it is a step in the right direction to eradicate once and for all, the problem of illegal slots around the island.”

According to Puerto Rico gaming law slot machines are only permitted in casinos attached to hotels and revenue generated by casinos is a vital source of funding for the Ministry of Tourism and the state run University. However, revenue has been down due to the proliferation of slot parlours. Puerto Rico has about 7,000 slot machines in casinos hotels with the Treasury Department claiming another 75,000 could be in operation illegally.

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