Casino Gaming in Costa Rica

 In Costa Rica Vacation Tips

A Tico twist on ‘Viva Las Vegas’-  casino gaming in Costa Rica can be a lot of fun!

Casino gaming in Costa Rica is legal, but not a booming industry in the same way Las Vegas is. Usually, the casinos are value-added affairs for large resorts and hotels such as Croc’s Resort & Casino, instead of destinations in themselves they way they are in the States.

Here are a few things to know before you go gaming in Costa Rica

Costa Rican casinos operate only at night, with typical opening hours from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. By law, casinos must be part of a 3-star hotel or resort (at a minimum) and have at least 60 rooms offering standard amenities. The total gaming area can’t be more than 15% of the resort’s total floor space, and, casinos can’t be accessed directly from the street.

When gaming in Costa Rica, don’t expect complimentary adult beverages like you’d find in Las Vegas; while alcohol is available for purchase, it is not given for free due to legalities. Handing out free drinks could be construed as plying a customer with alcohol in order to take advantage, and is thus prohibited.

Smoking is also prohibited in public places, and this extends to casinos, as well; the policy is strictly enforced.

It’s also not customary to tip dealers, although it is a good practice and appreciated.

Casual dress is perfectly acceptable in Costa Rica casinos; after all, you’re on vacation! Dress comfortably, and you’ll blend right in with the crowd. Of course, if it’s a fancy night out on the town, knock yourself out! There’s no rule against dressing up either.

Casino gaming in Costa Rica places more emphasis on its entertainment value than the more fevered I’m-going-to-get-rich atmosphere found in North American casinos. Gaming in Costa Rica tends to be a more subdued affair.

Table games in Costa Rica casinos

Table games in Costa Rican casinos are like their Vegas counterparts though there are different rules. Strictly speaking, blackjack or 21, is not legal in Costa Rica even though some casinos do refer to it has blackjack. Instead, the game is called “Rummy,” which not the same as gin rummy played in the U.S. but rather a lot like- you guessed it- blackjack. The most notable differences are that the dealer must hit on a soft 17 and a face card-ace combo (blackjack) doesn’t pay 3-to-2.

Roulette is known as “Canasta” and it has nothing to do with the card game. Spanish for “basket,” the canasta, in this case, is the round wire cage, much like those used in Bingo, holds the numbered balls—there is no wheel—using a double-zero format. There is no wheel as in the States.

Stud poker—known as “Tute” and played in the Caribbean style—and Pai Gow poker are becoming very popular and, increasingly, played at an international level.

Croc’s Resort & Casino has devoted about half its floor space to Vegas-style IGT slot machines, which means roughly 150 machines. Management has also incorporated IGT’s gaming management system, so you can expect operations to be more in keeping with Nevada gaming standards. The resort also aims for Vegas-style bling and atmosphere; it’s all about a welcoming “WOW” for players.

Casino gaming in Costa Rica has never been so good.

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