The growth of bets in casinos and gambling halls in Panama, which generated USD 948 million last year, is directly related to the arrival of tourists, according to President of the Association of Games of Chance Administrators (Asaja), Antonio Alfaro.
“Bets from foreign people have been growing more that those from local people”, commented Alfaro, evaluating the development of the sector in 2007.
The greater part of leisure bets is concentrated in casinos, USD 646.1 million in Type-A slots and USD 243.8 in table games. Both had a 21.3% and 12.3% growth, respectively. The sporting bets in those centers collected USD 26.3 million, 46.4% more than in 2006. This figure is equal to the total of horse race bets, which in 2007 had a growth of only 2.3%.
Total prize paid in games of chance were also strong: USD 584 million, 21.8% more than in 2006. Slots paid USD 353 million in prizes and table games USD 191 million. Operators in Panama receive very high incomes. These companies earned USD 233.3 million in 2007, 16.6% more than in 2006. The country has 15 complete casinos operating and 27 slot halls.
Executive secretary of the Gambling Control Commission, Raúl Cortizo, pointed that it has not been approved any of the presentations for new casinos in the country yet.