Costa Rica Considers Using Casino Tax Revenue to Train Law Enforcement

Posted on: May 27, 2022, 05:44h. 

Last updated on: May 27, 2022, 10:18h.

A Costa Rican lawmaker wants to give the country’s law enforcement officers more education in police activity. To that end, he submitted a bill that would redirect gaming taxes to fund their training.

Hotel Casino Club Colonial
The Hotel Casino Club Colonial in San Jose, Costa Rica. It, and other casinos in the country, may see their tax revenue go to improve the police forces. (Image:

This week, Assemblyman Gilbert Jimenez submitted to the Costa Rican Congress a project to change the destination of the tax funds casinos and bookmakers pay to the government. The National Liberation Party member proposes that this collection be directed to the training of municipal police.

The bill consists of a reform to the law on taxes on casinos and online betting companies. It isn’t clear if Jimenez has been able to secure a lot of support, but the draft is now under review.

Laying Down the Law

The initiative would see 50% of the revenues from gaming tax redistributed in all the municipalities that have their own police force. That money would have established guidelines for use, including as an investment in police approach, development programs, and citizen environment management.

The parameters assigned by the project are 25% according to the extension of each canton, or division in the country. Another 25% will be divided according to population number.

The breakdown of the remaining 50% depends on the cantonal social development index developed by the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Policy. The cantons with the lowest social index will receive proportionally more resources.

Taking into consideration that the municipal governments combined administer only approximately 2% of the public budget, it becomes imperative that these constitutionally autonomous structures be strengthened for the sustainability of actions based on this strategy,” reads a new bill in Costa Rica to reallocate gaming tax revenue.

According to the legislative proposal, the other half of the resources would be used for additional law enforcement operations. Part of that 50% would finance the physical infrastructure of the country’s penitentiary centers, which the Ministry of Justice and Peace manages. Another part would go to the maintenance of the police team of the Ministry of Public Security.

No Help to Everyone

What the bill doesn’t include, however, will likely upset more than a few people. There is no mention of increasing the salaries of the police officers. In Costa Rica, according to the salary comparison website, police officers earn between CRC370,723 and CRC 820,764 (US$548.30-$1,213.91).

Website International Living points out that a “single person can live on between $1,600 and $2,000 a month.” Therefore, a police officer and head of household is far behind. He or she only earns about half of what a single person needs in order to live.

Costa Rica had an opportunity to collect more taxes earlier this year. In March, although the opposition parties had previously rejected it, the Committee on Legal Affairs of Congress unanimously shelved a project that sought to set a tax on lottery prizes. The tax targeted lottery prizes over CRC462,000 (USD$724).

The Executive Branch had designed this project within the framework of an agreement sealed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Through it, the government hoped to include any type of lottery within the activities taxed. However, infighting ahead of political elections contributed to the measure’s demise.