Costa Rica plans to use casino tax revenue to train law enforcement

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Posted: May 27, 2022, 5:44 a.m.

Last update: May 27, 2022, 5:44 a.m.

A Costa Rican lawmaker wants to give the country’s law enforcement officers more in-depth training on policing. To that end, he introduced a bill that would redirect gambling taxes to fund their formation.

Hotel Casino Club Colonial
The Hotel Casino Club Colonial in San Jose, Costa Rica. It, and other casinos around the country, could see their tax revenue used to improve police forces. (Image: LasApuestas.mx)

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

The bill consists of a reform of the law on taxes on casinos and online betting companies. It’s unclear if Jimenez was able to garner much support, but the project is currently under review.

Make the law

The initiative would see 50% of gambling tax revenue redistributed to all municipalities with their own police. This money would have established guidelines for use, in particular as an investment in programs for the development of the police approach and the management of the environment of citizens.

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

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

Considering that combined municipal governments only administer about 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 tax revenue from gambling.

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

No help for everyone

What the bill does not include, however, will probably bother more than a few people. There is no question of increasing police salaries. In Costa Rica, according to salary comparison website Tusalario.org, police officers earn between 370,723 CRC and 820,764 CRC ($548.30 to $1,213.91).

The International Living website points out that “a single person can live on between $1,600 and $2,000 a month.” Therefore, a policeman and householder is far behind. He or she only earns about half of what a single person needs to live.

Costa Rica had the opportunity to collect more taxes earlier this year. In March, despite opposition parties previously rejecting it, the Congressional Legal Affairs Committee unanimously shelved a plan to impose a tax on lottery prizes. The tax targeted lottery prizes above 462,000 CRC (724 USD).

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

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