International edition
September 25, 2021

They would tax with new fees for casino and slot operations

ASAJA could appeal to the Panamanian Supreme Court against the tax reform

(Panama).- Antonio Alfaro, president of the Association of Games of Chance Administrators (ASAJA), affirmed that, if the tax reform is approved, in which new fees would be imposed for complete casino operators and slots, they would go to the Supreme Court to report the law as inconstitutional or request an arbitration, allowed by the law that regulates the industry.

D

uring the consultation period in the Commission of Economy of the Assembly, in charge of Representative José Blandón, Alfaro pointed that establishing a base price (us$ 1 million) to obtain the goodwill of a games of chance business, and double (us$ 25 million) the amount that the National Treasury receives on gross incomes generated by national gambling venues, clearly violates the contracts that some companies have signed with the Panamanian state.

ASAJA petition asks to withdraw of the bill at least eight articles that change considerably what was previously signed between operators and the state. "This tax reform opens a Pandora’s box and sets a negative precedent for any government that believes it can override a contract that regulates the industry,” he added.

According to Alfaro, establishing us$ 1 million for goodwill of a slots hall is exagerated and arbitrary. ASAJA President said that businessmen of the sector were available to negotiate with the government and set, under an integral revision of the Decree Law that regulates the games of chance industry, any type of increment of contributions to the state.

Instead of imposing new taxes in a unilateral way, ASAJA proposes a complete reform on gaming laws and to change the members of the Gambling Control Committee, that is currently comprised by representatives of the Comptrollership, the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the National Assembly, to include the administrator of the Authority of Tourism, who would determine which social investment can the businessman do in the area in which he will operate.

Among the modifications planteadas it is established that new administrators or operators of Type "A" slots venues that are granted a contract will have to pay JCJ the amount of us$ 1 million for the goodwill of each venue that operates. Fiscal adjustments that it presented will allow the state collect extraordinary incomes of around us$ 225 million a year.

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