The legislature Monday passed for the second and final time a tax on casinos and gambling call centers.
The measure levies a monthly tax on each slot machine, each gambling table and monthly net income. The call centers face a tax based on the number of employees.
Lawmakers pointed out that such a tax was part of the platform on which President Laura Chinchilla ran.
A.M. Costa Rica estimated that some casino owners will have to pay the government up to 8.5 million colons (more than $17,000) a month plus 10 percent of their net income, according to the new tax bill.
Operators of gambling call centers will have to pay up to
$82,000 a year in taxes under the same proposed law.
Although the actual wording of the final bill will not be known until it is published in the La Gaceta government newspaper, preliminary drafts grandfathered in casinos that were not related to hotels. Any new casinos will have to be associated with a four- or five-star hotel.
Such a measure continues the fiction that the casinos are for tourists, when the bulk of the customers are Costa Rican.
The measure passed with 42 of a possible 57 votes.
A court appeal by casino operators is possible.
The tax is supposed to be used for security purposes, but a last-minute amendment may have allocated all the money for the Ministerio de Justicia y Paz to build jail cells.