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Panama – Biz Tools pays $1m for casino licence in Penonomé

By - 23 January 2017

Panama’s Ministry of Economy and Finance has granted a licence to Biz Tools S.A to run a new casino in the city of Penonomé.

The company has paid US$1m to the Panamanian Gaming Control Board for the licence to run the casino which will house both slot machines and table games. The licence is valid for 20 years. The casino will be located in the Hotel Coclé de Vía Interamericana, which is located in the Iguana Mall.

According to the official notice the operator may renew the licence two years before the licence is set to expire during which time it must have satisfactorily fulfilled all of its and legal and financial obligations. The terms of the contract will then be open to renegotiation. The contract also states that the operator must “pay a percentage of prizes not less than 80 per cent of the bets made via type A slot machines.” (Type A slot machines are slot machines present in casinos as opposed to slot parlours and do not have a payout ceiling).) Gaming tables and slot machines must also be new using “advanced technology” and be equipped with “interconnection devices.”

Penonomé is the capital of the province of Coclé and is not one of Panama’s more frequently visited locations and tourist development in the area is limited. However it is slowly becoming more popular and visitor numbers are rising. The town is located along the Inter-American Highway which runs through the city

News that a new casino will be opening in the near future is good news for the industry which has been reporting decreased revenues. According to the latest report released by Panama’s National Controller´s Office gambling in the first ten months of 2016 fell by almost 10 per cent compared to the same period in 2015 standing at US$1,866m, around US$192.7m less than 2015. According to Antonio Alfaro President the Association of Managers of Gaming (ASAJA), the fall is a direct result of a 5.5 per cent tax which now applies to all cash withdrawals made in casinos, slot parlours, bingo halls and sports betting shops and tracks. The new tax has also affected jobs in the sector. In March 2016 the the ASAJA reported that since June 2015 a total of 1,200 workers had lost their jobs.

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