|In Costa Rica, the Government of President Oscar Arias Sanchez is moving quickly to stop Russian casino group Storm International BV from setting up casinos in the nation.|
In an interview with the Spanish language daily Al Día, the country’s Vice-President, Laura Chinchilla, stated that Storm cannot be stopped under current regulations but that the administration would pass revise gambling legislation by July in order to stop the Russian operator.
Storm’s move to the Central American nation follows the passage of legislation under former Russian President Vladimir Putin stopping casinos operating in major urban areas such as Moscow. It courted controversy when it announced its move to Costa Rica while refusing to divulge the names of its Costa Rican partners. Rumours abound that the group is planning to move its casino operation to Escazu near the capital, San Jose, but the town’s mayor, Marco Antonio Segura Seco, stated that he had not yet received any such requests.
Chinchilla stated that the type of business proposed by the Russians is not welcome in Costa Rica and that current casinos operate only because of a vacuum in current laws. Casinos are required to be part of a hotel operation and current venues would be allowed to continue operations should any new regulations be passed to avoid the Government having to pay compensation.
She said that Costa Ricans don’t want to see their country overrun by casinos and that the revised regulations would strictly enforce the percentage of hotel floor space dedicated to casino activities along with more firm operating guidelines.
Chinchilla said that Storm wants to relocate to Costa Rica because the nation is viewed as careless when it comes to regulations. She stated that the Government would do everything in its power to avoid sending a ‘come to Costa Rica because there is no regulation’ message.