ccording to MEF, a 72.6% of the income obtained by casinos in 2008 comes from slots. Besides, private sources connected to this industry assure that 95% of the people that visit these places are Panamanian.
At mid 2007, the Government Watchdog’s Office revealed that Panamanian casinos were generating around us$ 60 million a month, which represented 5 million more than compared with the same period 2006. At the same moment, the Association of Games of Chance Administrators (ASAJA) informed that casinos in Panama had increased their winnings a 15.9% a month.
Games of chance are one of the most important activities of the Panamanian economy.
Betting in casinos, horse racetracks and gambling halls in Panama generated us$ 818 million in 2008, which represents a 11% growth regarding the previous year, informed at the beginning of the current year the Gambling Control Committee. Only casinos had winnings of us$ 300 million.
In Panama, there are differences between casinos and slot halls. Casinos are those installations located in five-star hotels that guarantee the exclusiveness of its customers, while slot halls are located in less exclusive places.
Cirsa group, owner of Nortia Real State, announced officially that the company plans an investment of U$S 250 million for the construction of a great hotel casino complex in the City of Panama. The hotel, which will be inaugurated in three years, will be called Magapolis Nortia Tower and will have 74 floors with 2,200 rooms in total, distributed on a total surface of 190,000 sqm. Besides, the project includes the construction of a 5,000 sqm casino and other services such as gymnasium, restaurant and congress palace.
The Director of the Gambling Control Committee has indicated that there are several requests for the operation of new gambling venues and a complete casino that is waiting for approval (2009). According to experts and the entities that regulate the business casino in Panama, the country has the most developed casino industry in Latin America, just beaten by Argentina.