Panama announces end of 5.5% tax on gambling winnings

| By Daniel O'Boyle
Panama’s Game Control Board (JCJ) has announced that it plans on eliminating the controversial 5.5% tax on all gambling winnings, including the betting stake, introduced by the previous government of the country in 2015.

Panama’s Gaming Control Board (JCJ) has announced that it will eliminate the controversial 5.5% tax on all gambling winnings, including player stakes, introduced by the country's government in 2015.

The regulator said it believed the move would be a boost to the country’s tourism sector and would attract more international players.

In addition, the JCJ, a subdivision of the country's Ministry of Economy and Finance, announced that it would introduce a new electronic auditing system, and hire more auditors to better handle tax collection.

“We will increase revenues and promote responsible gambling, this set of measures and others will help us to make this activity positively impact the country's economy,” JCJ secretary Manuel Sánchez said.

The tax prompted criticism from the country's gambling industry, with trade body the Association of Gambling Operators (CCIAP) petitioning for a presidential veto of the bill when it was introduced.

The JCJ revealed that in the first eight months of 2019, PAB50.8m (£41.1m/€46.3m/$50.8m) have been collected in gambling taxes, a 33.2% decrease compared to the PAB76.1m generated in the same period of 2018.

In related news, Sanchez met Luis Calvo Reyes, head of Mexico’s regulatory body Juegos y Sorteos, last week to discuss gambling regulations, including taxes, in each country.

Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter