During last year, players left USD 840 million of gross income in Panamenian casinos. This figure registrates a 13.5% growth with regards to 2006, when the total income was USD 740 million.
The numbers show that the campaign performed by different trade unions in order to prevent players to go to casinos has had little effect.
Antonio Alfaro, president of the Association of Games of Chance Administrators (ASAJA), confirmed that the increment of players is stronger month after month. That’s why he added that the Association will initiate the campaigns to boost responsible gaming soon.
He explained that, so far, 52 players are registrated in the Association of Anonimous People with Gambling Problems in Panama. Last year, real profit was USD 32 million. Fourteen full casinos operate in the country, of which eight are located in Panama city, two in the province of Chiriquí and one in the states of Veraguas, Herrera, Colón and Coclé, respectively.
Adolfo Quintero, president of the Association of Economists of Panama, pointed that the increment in casino profit contributes to the growth of the GDP of the country, but damages the income of each family. He stressed that casinos generate jobs, but added that they also contribute to the fact that players generate debts.
“The problem in Panama is that casinos have expanded without control, when they would just be in the touristic areas”, pointed Alfaro. Regarding the proposal of the Assembly to restrict the entry to casinos to people that earn less that a thousand dollars, the representative of ASAJA said that it is unconstitutional.
If this law is approved, Alfaro said that president Torrijos should cancel it.