No more tax on gambling winnings in Panama

Published by Daniel on September 30, 2019 IN Industry News

New Tax Rules in PanamaIn the past few years there has been many changes and improvements made to the online gambling industry. 

One of the key focus areas have been changes and improvements to gambling regulations in various regions.  

Most recently Panama has announced that they will be scrapping gambling tax in an effort to attract more tourists.

A move to increase tourism 

Panama is making a few changes and one of the major changes is to the taxation of betting in the country. One of the small victories for many is that the government officials will be abolishing the unpopular 5.5% Income Tax.  

With the new rules in place players will be able to cash in on tax free winnings no matter if they choose to take it as chips or cash. According to sources the main reason behind this move is to try and save the drastically fading tourism industry in Panama. There is hope that these new lucrative rules regarding betting will lure in more visitors.  

More changes announced 

The Panama regulatory body, Junta de Control de Juegos (JCJ), has announced that they would be introducing changes relating to taxation of betting. As mentioned the 5.5% tax which applies to gambling winnings is among the first to be removed by the Ministry of Economy and Finance.  

The tax was introduced back in 2015 with its main purpose being to raise revenue in an effort to pay for retirement benefits of Panama Citizens. This was implemented by the previous government and new officials believe that it is negatively affecting the tourist trade.  

It is because of this belief that the income tax will be abolished across the board on all aspects of gambling in Panama. This includes all forms of gambling such as bingo, sports betting and playing at the casino tables.  

A popular move 

It seems the move to get rid of tax on gambling winnings is a popular one as it has already gained the support of many agencies. The head of the tourist body Autoridad de Turismo de Panama has already backed the plan. According to statistics the tourism industry has collapsed with hotel occupation rates dropping below 45% in the past two years. Another major downfall to the collapsing tourism industry is that there has been approximately 40,000 job losses because of it.  

The move to scrap the tax has been a long time coming as the gambling body in Panama, Asociación de Administradores de Juegos de Azar, has been campaigning against it since it was implemented 4 years ago. It is their belief that the implementation of this tax was the reason many local players and international gamblers chose to visit neighbouring countries instead.  

A watchful eye 

The cut of the Income Tax is a big win for players in Panama but operators might want to be careful. The Panama government also recently announced that they are preparing to introduce a new audit system for operators.  

They will be using an “interconnected electronic system” to ensure operators are paying the right amount of tax. Government Officials will also be stepping up their monitoring activity to identify all taxable revenue.