Laura Chinchilla is to be sworn in as Costa Rica’s new president on Saturday. Part of her announced program will be to increase taxes on casino and online gambling businesses, and to apply those tax revenues to combatting the country’s growing rate of violent crime.
While I’m not usually a tax-and-spend advocate, I’m pleased to see Costa Rican officials eager to tackle the criminal elements plaguing the country. As you may already be aware, Bodog was based out of Costa Rica until 2006, when it shifted its headquarters to Antigua. I myself lived there for a decade before I too moved to Antigua. But part of the reason behind my decision to move was the day that began with me going to look at some real estate and ended with me being pistol whipped by Costa Rican gang members. If anyone ever wondered why armed guards and bulletproof Hummers feature so prominently in some of my television appearances, there’s your fucking answer.
At one time, Costa Rica was the center of online gaming in the Americas. It has since lost most of its non-credit online gaming companies to licensed jurisdictions like Antigua, Kahnawake and Europe. (Costa Rica’s new government is actually considering instituting a licensing regime similar to Antigua, which does not allow credit gaming operations, a move I wholeheartedly support.) While Costa Rica is no longer the place I call home, it will always have a special place both in my heart and in Bodog history. The Bodog Compound is still in Costa Rica and Bodog Europe will continue using it for various types of promotions. Bodog Europe is also planning to purchase an historic building in Central London that will be renovated and renamed Bodog House. With any luck, it will eventually occupy a similarly debauched position in the minds of the online gambling industry and the public at large.