Figures from Panama’s Ministry of Economy and Finance have shown that the gaming industry contributed $6,223,897 from January to August this year, $451,141 less than during the same period in 2016.
“It is necessary to review 5.5 percent tax on player’s bets,” explained Antonio Alfaro, president of Panama’s Association of Gambling Administrators (Asaja).
“People have chosen to reduce their visits to casinos and this affects us all. You have to keep in mind that if someone plays $10,000 and loses $4,000, the $6,000 that’s left will still be taxed.”
Alfaro indicated that the 5.5 percent tax, introduced in 2005, has had a negative impact on the industry and has led both nationals and foreigners to reduce their visits to casinos.
Instead he proposes that the government should limit the tax to players’ winnings.
The downward trend in the Panamanian gaming sector has been an issue throughout 2017, with the national regulator, the Junta de Control de Juegos (JCJ) reporting a 15.5 percent decline in bets during the first half of the year.
Meanwhile reports suggest that in order to keep their doors open, operators have reduced their gaming tables by half, and have been forced to cut more than 2,000 jobs.