Panama – Panama to launch crackdown on slot hallsBy Phil - 14 April 2014
Panamanian Deputy Miguel Alemán and his team of advisers have prepared a draft law intended to prevent the growth of slot parlours in highly
populated areas of the country.
Talking with local press he said that his intention was not to change current gaming legislation which is aimed at improving local tourist infrastructure. Instead the new legislation would provide safeguards against gambling addiction amongst the underprivileged.
The draft new would allow the government to address the issue directly and more efficiently and would give lawmakers more powers when it came to limiting slot machine parlours in the most populous locations in Panama. The law proposes that no more gambling permits should be permitted in these locations without a study being carried out first into the long term effects of slot machines parlours in low socio economic areas.
Deputy Aleman’s proposals do not seek to alter the main guiding principle of Panamanian gaming laws. Going into effect in 1998 the law privatised the industry and permitted casinos as long as they were part of five star hotel with a minimum of 300 rooms. Since then the casino industry in Panama has grown rapidly and is now home to one of the most developed gaming industries in the entire region. The law also allows for slot machine parlours which have also proliferated rapidly over recent years.
Gaming over all platforms has been on the rise for some time in Panama. According to the most recent figures issued by the Panamanian government in January gaming revenue between November 2012 and December 2013 stood at US$2682.2m; an increase of 12.1 per cent. In the same period the industry recorded revenues of around US$288.5m more than the previous year. The most popular activity were slot machines located in casinos and slot parlours (classed as Type A in Panamanian gaming law) with gaming gross revenue standing at US$ 1.781m, representing a 17.4 per cent increase since 2012.