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Gamblers makes $2.469 billion in bets in Panama

Temas:

A total of $2.469 billion was wagered last year in Panama, $20 million less compared to the previous year.

This is the first decrease in the volume of bets since 2003, according to statistics from the Gaming Control Board.

The vast majority, or 85.3 percent of the total, was made on slot machines.

Table games in casinos handled $276 million in wagers, followed by bets on horse racing ($47.4 million) sporting events ($34.6 million) and bingo ($3.6 million).

Gamblers won just over $2 billion, meaning gambling companies generated $418.9 million in profits.

Antonio Alfaro, president of the Association of Gaming Managers of Panama (Asaja), said that the 5.5 percent tax on gambling that was created to finance the pension increase for retirees had a negative effect on the gaming industry.

The tax, which came into effect in the second quarter of 2015, is charged when a player cashes in chips or credits on a slot machine.

Gaming Control Board Secretary Eric Rios said the decline in betting levels may be due to many reasons, such as changes in gambling habits or a change in the number of tourists. He did, however, admit that the tax may have changed the "gambling habits of the betting public."

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