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Panama – Gaming tax revenues soaring to US$82m in 2016

By - 10 June 2016

The Executive Secretary of the Panamanian Gaming Control Board (JCJ) Eric Ríos has said that that tax revenues from gambling are still going strong having reached US$32m during this year’s first quarter. According to estimates released by the SJC, tax gaming revenue will stand at US$82m by the end of 2016 which is similar to the amount raised in 2015.

However, the state this year also received an additional US$45.76m from the recently imposed 5.5 per cent tax on bets. The 5.5 per cent tax applies now to all cash withdrawals made in casinos, slot parlours, bingo halls and sports betting shops and tracks and includes tips to employees. Tax deductions are made even if the customer cashes in chips without winning. The new tax was approved last year in order to fund US$60m of the US$74.8m needed to increase pensions.

Speaking at a breakfast meeting with press and the Minister of Economy and Finance Dulcidio De La Guardia, Mr Ríos  also highlighted some of the JCJ’s  most recent achievements and outlined some of the gaming boards  upcoming projects.

Among the most notable achievements, he said, was the decrease in type C machines slot machines in low-income areas. The expansion of slot parlours in poorer areas has been growing cause for concern and there have been growing reports that the government has been poised to tackle the issue. Mr Ríos said that a number of establishments had been closed down and their licences revoked.

He also pointed out that two new fully fledged casino licences had been issued, one in Panama City and one in Chitré  – the capital of the Panamanian province of Herrera. Both casinos will be located in hotels and will in turn help create jobs he said.  Meanwhile, a number of new player protection measures had already been put into place while a public awareness campaign on responsible gaming was forthcoming. Rios finished by highlighting the fact that in the future that all slot machine transactions will be monitored and in real time by a central government-controlled server which will map exactly where and when every gaming transaction takes place in Panama.

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