The games of chance business is growing, and casino winnings in 2008 exceeded USD 300 million, while the government received more than USD 30 million. Besides, the demand of new casinos is increasing, too. In 2008, a new casino license was granted and there are four requests in process.
Last year, it was granted the operating license to Hotel Colón Puerto 2.000 for a casino, that will be operated by the firm Crown Casino. It also completed all the requirements and it is waiting for the approval of a new casino that will operate in Plaza Millenium, in the city of Colón.
The waiting list also includes the projects Ice Towers, Hotel Ocean Trump Plaza, owned by billionaire Donald Trump and Los Faros de Panama belonging to Spanish group Moll. These three casinos, according to the Director of the Gambling Control Committee, Raúl Cortizo, are delayed in their documents. The future government will be in charge of granting the authorization.
There are currently 15 casinos within the country. Cortizo states that the increment of bets has to do with the increment of players to Panama, mainly from US, Europe, Puerto Rico and Venezuela, on top of the fact that the economic crisis has not had a full impact in the country yet.
He assures that scientific studies show that, in places where these types of activities are regulated, such as Panama, there are less gambling problems. “There is an increment of players to the country, from Venezuela and Puerto Rico,” concluded Cortizo.