A US $400M casino-development project called Casino City Caribe has been approved by Costa Rican authorities. The new multiple-casino venue and attached amenities will be built in the city of Moín, with construction slated to begin early in 2019.
Costa Rica will soon be home to a new destination casino. Canadian developer Patti Rao has announced plans for Casino City Caribe. The $400m (£294m) project will be built at the mouth of the Tortuguero Canals, in Moín, Limón Province, on Costa Rica’s eastern coast.
The entire project, which will include three separate casinos, has been on the drawing board since at least 2014. Press releases associated with the project’s approval and formal launch indicate that these elements are also included:
- Three hotels (with a combined total of 264 rooms)
- Three casinos — one of which is to be designed as a “riverboat”-style casino
- 219 beachfront apartments
- Two convention and cultural centers (one with a 60-person capacity, the other for up to 150 people)
- Spa and wellness center
- Entertainment center
- Business center
- Additional recreational facilities
Multiple construction phases
The project is part of Costa Rica’s and Limón Province’s plans to revitalize the Moín and Tortuguero Canals area. Rao and his Patti Rao Projects firm, based in Vancouver, Canada, have received the blessing of the Costa Rica Tourism Board and the country’s ministry of environment for the project. The development is pitched as an environmentally sustainable effort that’s also designed to boost economic development throughout the region.
Construction is expected to begin in early 2019 and continue through several distinct waves until the destination is completed in 2027. The project is expected to create at least 150 construction jobs, many of which will continue for several years as additional development phases begin.
Eco-tourism market eyed
The entire concept also has an eye toward Costa Rica’s growing status as a retirement and seasonal destination for North American gamblers. Sales materials for the project describe Casino City Caribe being planned as a “standalone gated community for tourists, retirees, and gaming enthusiasts as part of a full-service beachfront resort village”.
Developer Rao told Costa Rican news outlets that the venue’s location was selected based on the potential of the area, the support of Costa Rican officials, and the interest of his business partners and Rao himself in investing in “eco-tourism” projects such as that envisioned for the Tortuguero. The Tortuguero Canals region, just west of the city of Limón, is nicknamed the “Costa Rica Amazon” and attracts tens of thousands of tourists, but is a delicate and fragile ecosystem.
Rao said: “I want to help Limón and feel proud of the project. My goal is to contribute in some way with the development of Costa Rica. […] It was an idea that came to me after my retirement.”