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Panama – Revenues on the rise in Panama

By - 15 May 2015

Revenues during the first quarter for the 15 companies that manage gaming in Panama increased by 10 per cent, reaching US$647.7m compared to the same period in 2014, according to the Board of Gaming Control of the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF).

In the first quarter of last year, revenues stood at U.S$588.5m meaning that gaming revenue has increased by more than US$S56m.

Gaming has been on the rise in Panama despite the fact that the economy’s’ growth rate has decreased by around six per cent over the last two years.

Type 3 slot machines (classified as Type A slot machines in Panamanian gaming law) recorded the highest revenue with revenues standing at U.S$544.2m which is an increase of US$ 56.2m compared to the same period the previous year. This is followed by table gaming and sports betting while betting in bingo halls and the Presidente Remón racetrack have fallen significantly compared to the same period last year.

According to the press release, gross income in the first three months of 2015 increased by 5.9 per cent standing at US$S110m compared to U$S103.5m in 2014.

The news comes at a time when the industry is facing a number of challenges revolving around the expansion of slot parlours in poorer areas. There have been growing reports that the government has been poised to tackle the issue. A new law which is being considered would enforce tighter control over the industry and would put in place a number of strict player protection measures including banning slot parlours and casinos from operating in rural zones and zones in poorer districts.

In 1998 the government passed a wide sweeping gaming law which 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. According to statistics released by the ASAJA Association of Managers of Gaming (ASAJA) there are 7,300 slot machines in slot parlors in Panama and 5,400 slot machines located in casinos.

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