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I have a friend who has been working in the tourist industry of Costa Rica for years. He speaks many languages is well-educated and knows how to handle people. For a long time it has clearly been the best employment he could find within the country. But for a couple of years now, there has been an increasing number of callcenters that were established in Costa Rica. Not only has Hewlett Packard decided to move here instead of India. Many sportsbetting and online gambling companies have moved here as well.
While I have to admit that poker, casino and sportsbets are clearly not my cup of tea, it looks like a good thing that my friend is working there now because he gets higher wages (around 700 $/month). But on the other hand, the tourist industry feels the pressure of rising wages due to the existence of these callcenters.

Well-trained Ticos (Costa Ricans) that speak two (or even more) languages no longer confine themselves to the realm of hotels and tourdesks. Instead, they spend their days on the phone, being the bookies for Yanks going after this (illegal) excitement. It’s not the most exciting job in the world, but one of the best paid in Costa Rica so far.

Now, there has also been a long debate between the US-government and the Ticos. The US have already arrested a few CEO’s of sportbets companies operating from Costa Rica, when they were transiting the United States. But this, of course, could not solve the problem. Online gambling is a huge industry with crazy amounts of money being transferred worldwide. This is clearly an attractive business for a country like Costa Rica. (Further famous gambling havens are Antigua and Curacao/Netherland Antilles).

I definitely see it as a good thing for Costa Rica to diversify its economy. I don’t have a moral problem with it either. I’m just hoping that my friend will soon be working for something he likes again and make good money too. There’s nothing worse than sticking to a job you don’t like just because it pays well. And currently, that’s the kind of jobs that sportbets create in Costa Rica.

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