Costa Rica announces online gambling concession process

Costa Rica’s Social Protection Board (JPS) has launched a public invitation to receive offers to operate online gambling, including lottery games.
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The Social Protection Board (JPS), Costa Rica’s gambling regulator, has launched a public invitation to receive offers to operate online gambling, including sports betting, lottery games and electronic lottery.

The JPS will receive offers from national and international legal entities from March 16 to April 5.

According to Article 2 of Law No. 8718, the JPS is exclusively in charge of the ‘creation, administration, sale and commercialization of sports betting and other gambling products,’ while it also has the authority to decide any type of concession.

In a press conference, JPS President Esmeralda Britton revealed that they are after a digital transformation, to ensure that income and contributions to social programs are maintained.

“The Board has demonstrated throughout its almost 176 years of existence its ability to evolve and adapt to new times. We believe that in the case of the digital age, the institution is walking on the path of technological transformation that allows us to strengthen protection,” said Britton.

According to the JPS, there will be three different platforms, which will be authorized through a concession to two operators per platform. To participate in the process, each operator must deposit between $160 and $320 to the JPS and another sum of $400 as a guarantee.

Furthermore, the Board will keep 70% of the profits, and there will be no intermediaries between the operations and the JPS. Another important aspect is that the proposed databases and games will become the property of the JPS.

“The Social Protection Board is the only administrator involved in this process, the companies that participate are filtered, two legal companies are picked [in each modality], two for betting, two for electronic lottery and two for lottery games (electronic scratch cards). Those companies are the ones that are going to report to the JPS, there is no intermediary here,” said Evelyn Blanco, Marketing Manager of the JPS.

Although the JPS plans to review the platforms every three months after the market opens, they will be tested through a pilot program for a period of one year. Modifications will be made based on the sales volume.

“We are changing the gaming industry by maintaining control of the state lottery, which by law is our responsibility. Also, this doesn’t affect lottery vendors, and it also expands alternatives for players,” added Marilyn Solano Chinchilla, General Manager of the JPS.