hich is the balance of the first months of the administration of the Gambling Control Committee in Panama?
In this period, which started last July 1st, this new administration has had as the goal to increment the incomes for the state, which was in a state of serenity, so, comparing the first months (July to October 2009 vs. 2008), we can find an increment in gross incomes in the operations of full casinos and Type-A slot halls, which is 5.8%. Besides, our mission has been to regulate some administrative issues related to the gaming industry, which had been treated in an irregular way, showing our vision of transparency in the public management.
Which is the current situation of the national casino industry?
From the moment in which the state carried out the tenders for the Administration /Operation of Casinos and “Type A” Slot Halls, there are 55 tenders: 14 full casinos; 30 “Type A” slot halls; 10 Sportsbook Agencies; 1 bingo hall. The operations of these gambling venues or full casinos have a positive economic management, as shown by the financial reports presented to the Gambling Control Committee, which show an increase in incomes every month.
How much did the international crisis affect in the gaming operation in Panama?
According to our accounts entry, the international crisis did not affect the gaming industry in the country, on the contrary, there was an increase of gross income collected by the state, which shows that more people, among national and foreign citizens, have increased their assistance to our gambling venues, together with the fact that in Panama, in the latest months, there have been mechanisms for the increment of tourism in the country.
Is there a saturation of gaming operations, or even Panama may grow in the number of venues in the following years?
The Panamanian gambling industry, compared with operations that are being carried our in Central America or Latin America, has not reached the saturation peak.
Which is the impact of clandestine gaming and which measures do you expect to take in 2010 to offset that factor?
The Gambling Control Committee has the function to regulate and control the games of chance activities, and those that generate bets in the whole nation. Besides, operators that have a contract with the state are also supportive with the aim to avoid this type of illegal activity to be made in our country, because the bad management in the gaming industry would affect the credibility of the investor in the country, which has a good legislation on the matter.
Will the tax reform for casinos be finally treated next year? Which would be the main changes to be imposed?
The tax reform is one of the main projects carried out by this administration, so it can be seen that, through Law 49, from last September 17, reforms to the Tax Code are approved and other measures were adopted, among them, the increment of gross income a 10%, up to 22% for Type-A slots, which will be calculated for years until 2014, which will be kept fixed, and, for casinos, it will increase from 10% to 15%, which will be calculated for a year until a maximum of 15% in 2012.