Costa Rica Proposes Using Gambling Revenue To Fund Police

May 30, 2022
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Costa Rica has introduced a new bill that would channel revenues from casinos and online gambling towards municipal police training and prisons.

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Costa Rica has introduced a new bill that would channel revenues from casinos and online gambling towards municipal police training and prisons.

Congressman Gilbert Jimenez presented file 23,125, which would amend article 5 of Law 9050, the tax law that regulates casinos and online gambling. It proposes using tax revenue to fund the training of municipal police officers or other local ventures of public security.

According to the file, 50 percent of tax dollars would go towards improving the physical infrastructure of prisons, to be managed by the Ministry of Justice and Peace. The other 50 percent would go towards the 34 municipalities that have a police force.

In the file, which was submitted on May 19, Jimenez and his colleagues cite the “Let's Grow Security” initiative of 2018, which was founded to help control crime.

The file also mentions another executive decree, the aptly named Officialization and Declaration of Public and National Interest of the Articulation Model of Operational Articulation and Crime Control, from 2019.

Jimenez argues that his proposal is in line with accomplishing the goals of both decrees. It further explains that municipal governments administer less than 2 percent of funding from the national government and receive no training from the National Police School.

His bill states: “Local governments are aware that they have a duty to take care of their citizens. Therefore, they must implement all the necessary measures to that end, which has been reflected in the fact that every day more and more municipalities are creating their own police forces, which today number 34, and are financed directly with municipal funds, but which are insufficient to meet all the needs including, among others, the formal training they require for effective performance of the functions of these police forces.”

This motion comes two months after Costa Rica shelved a bill that would have taxed lottery winners who received a payout larger than $462,000. Congressmen rejected it on the grounds of objecting to further taxing the people.

Around the same time the country’s Social Protection Board (JPS) rolled out a campaign to discourage illegal gambling called “Dear, do you play illegal lotteries?” It is aimed at recouping the estimated $430m of potential legal revenue that is lost to illegal gambling every year.

According to the JPS, 47 percent of gambling conducted in Costa Rica is illegal.

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