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Many of the larger hotels offer gambling casinos with slot machines and gaming tables. The Gran Hotel has a small casino and the huge pink Hotel Del Rey (Av 1 and Calle 9) has one of the more popular casinos, with a sideshow of middle-aged “fishermen” in Hawaiian shirts and young ladies of the night.

The casinos in the Aurola Holiday Inn and Barceló Amon serve free buffets for gamblers, while the Gran Hotel and Del Rey will feed you at your table. On several slow evenings we’ve played blackjack with a one-dollar minimum, feeling rich if we won 3,000 colones and saying, well it’s only $10, if we lost. Remember, the house always wins. “Rommy” is their name for blackjack, and “Tute” is a kind of poker.

More recently in Costa Rica, it has become a well known destination for online gambling. Although as a rule, online gambling in illegal in the United States, and that has created some problems for local companies, online gambling is not illegal in Costa Rica. Many companies have set up shop here, some with exposure to US laws, and some without exposure. One such company is IDSCA which basically a neutral party to transactions by providing support to bookies, but not actually doing the wagering themselves.

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