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Betting in Panama

Published on: 01/02/2016

The Republic of Panama is located in Central America and lies between Columbia and Costa Rica. In 1914, a 51 mile-long canal was built to enable ships to travel between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The official language is Spanish and the currency used is the U.S. Dollar.

The Spanish empire ruled Panama from 1538 until 1821, at which point, Panama became part of Columbia. In 1903, Panama gained independence, with the help of the United States of America, and ran as a constitutional democracy under the power of a small oligarchy. In 1968, a military coup put the country under martial law with General Manuel Noriega. There was a time in Panama when corruption was rife; criminal activity including drug dealing and bribery became dominant. Constitutional rights were affected, and legitimate gambling was impossible to regulate. As a result, illegal betting took a stronghold.

In 1989, U.S. troops carried out an operation to eject General Noriega. Since then, the Republic of Panama, has been busy restoring democracy. Panama’s National lottery was originally founded in the 19th century and made a return in the 1990s. The lottery helps to fund hospitals and local charities. Lottery draws take place on Sundays and Wednesdays, and tickets are distributed via street kiosks. The lottery is sponsored by the Loteria Nacional de Beneficiencia.

In 1956, the Hipódromo Presidente Remón was created to facilitate horse racing. The horserace track in Juan Diaz offers thoroughbred racing with pari-mutuel wagering at the Weekends and on Thursdays. The venue also offers around-the-clock games machines and gambling tables.

Casinos in Panama have become numerous under the reinstatement of democracy. With Panama now being a republic, the number of casinos have increased, the majority of which are located close to the canal. Others can be found in hotel resorts such as the Trump Ocean Club International and the Veneto Wyndam Grand. The Spanish company known as the Codere Group manages 12 games venues and another six establishments via the fiesta brand. Almost every city in Panama has a casino.

The Panamanian gambling industry also includes bingo halls and poker venues, as well as sports betting shops, all of which are under the ownership of private companies. The Codere Group is one of the country’s most successful business and manages over eighty gambling establishments.

The Junto de Control de Juegos is Panama’s governmental department responsible for regulating the nations gambling industry. Sportsbooks and Casinos have to obtain licences from the commission. Internet gambling was made legal through the Online Gaming Act of 2002. Permission has been granted to the International Cybergaming Corporation, enabling it to honour online licences to third parties.

By having this effective official code of conduct in place for online gambling, Panama has managed to become very popular with internet sportsbooks betting companies. So much so, that over 24 betting web sites has set up operations in the nation. These companies include Bingo Australia, Las Vegas USA and Betonline. Panama is appealing to online betting companies because of its tax-free status and the liberal use of the U.S. dollar. However, Panama does implement some strict regulations; for example, licensed sportsbooks are not permitted to let Panamanian locals to wager on their websites or to facilitate betting opportunities regarding sporting events taking place in Panama.

Despite a well-organized gambling industry, Panamanian citizens still frequent foreign gambling web sites, and with over 450 welcoming their play, there is no shortage of choice. Many sportsbooks provide information using the Spanish language including Paddy Power, William Hill, Party Bets and Betfred.