Panama’s gambling authority, Junta de Control de Juegos (JCJ) announced the total amount wagered in the period between January and August is USD 1,425 million, which is USD 45,000 less than last year. This figure does not include the National Lottery's sales, the newspaper La Prensa de Panamá reports.
Out of the total amount wagered up to August, USD 1,116 million were used to pay prizes and operators received gross gaming revenue in the amount of USD 259.6 million. Manuel Sánchez Ortega, JCJ’s executive secretary, pointed out that these figures show a 47% drop in gaming table wagers since the 5.5% tax was created four years ago, to finance an increase in the country’s retirement scheme. This fall has also affected employment rates.
Sánchez Ortega said he will put forward before the Legislature a bill that changes the implementation of that tax, limiting its scope to exclude gaming table wagers. So gamblers who wager on category A and C slot games, as well as sporting events, will continue paying such tax.
The government receives USD 53 million from the 5.5% tax, and with this change, it is estimated that tax collection will fall USD 3 million. However, government officials remain confident that once the number of wagers on gaming tables begins to rise, so will the amount collected from the annual payments made by casino operators.
Of the total amount wagered up to August, US$D 75.6 million were generated by bets on gaming tables. This figure shows a year-on-year 15% fall while wagers on category A slot machines dropped 2.6%, to US$1.277 million. The only segment which grew was sports betting, with a 13.2% increase, to US$ 33.6 million.