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Panama – Online Casinos & Gambling Regulations
The link that holds together the North and South American continents, Panama is famous for its titular canal that allows direct passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The Central American country is home to over four million people and an interesting blend of modern urban sprawls and old colonial quarters. Panama has managed to make a name for itself as a banking haven, as well as a gambling hotspot for both online and offline operations, providing licensing services to local establishments and much of the rest of Latin America alike.
Residents of Panama enjoy a fully regulated gambling environment that covers both land-based retail setups, as well as online operations. This is great for players, as it offers a ton of choices, all of which are backed by government oversight to engender a fair and trustworthy industry. Legal recourse is another advantage players have when gambling in a regulated market, which is vitally important for an individual coming into contact with an illegitimate or devious organization. Nothing is ever water-tight online though and black market operations are still capable of existing (even if just for a limited amount of time) in a fully regulated environment. It is therefore still important to remain vigilant and to take the time to verify the legitimacy of a site.
- Is the casino licensed by Panama’s Gaming Control Board?
- Does the casino have any other notable licensing?
- What is the reputation of the casino?
- Are your preferred payment methods supported?
- Is there a sports betting platform present?
The best way to get a good read on a casino is by checking out what the reviews are saying. To make things super easy, you can check out the list of Panamanian casinos provided here at GoodLuckMate. Keeping it locked in here will allow you to browse through casino reviews that can give you an instant impression of a site without ever having to step foot in it.
1997 saw the Panamanian government legalize private casino operations. This saw several land-based casinos and smaller operations opening their doors around the country. It was only another five years before the Online Gaming Act passed in 2002, which created a system to allow the Junta de Control de Juegos (Gaming Control Board) to distribute gambling licenses and oversee the industry. Making this change so early in the 2000s was a great move, as this allowed the relatively small Central American country to light upon the radars of notable figures in the gambling industry looking to break into the Latin American market. The Gaming Control boards’ liberal stance on providing services internationally has been a particularly big draw for sites wanting to get the most out of the Spanish-speaking markets.
As of now, practically all types of traditional gambling are legal and regulated for both visitors and residents of Panama. The economic boons that the country has enjoyed from having a fully regulated market for almost two decades are something that other more restrictive countries should take note of, as Panama, Curacao and Malta are all prime examples of what a small unassuming country can achieve with the right policies.
The Latin American market has been on the industry’s radar for some time now. Most online casinos are based in Europe and as Spain has very restrictive gambling laws, there hasn’t been much incentive to provide localized content for Spanish-speaking players. It is only in the past few years that a particular interest grew for Latin America. Many of the big-name online casinos have already successfully shifted to provide a fully localized experience with Spanish language support, local payment options and regional fixtures. Yet, most of the industry still trails behind and you will therefore more often come across a site without Spanish language options. The good news is that Panama is a hotspot for online operations wanting to get licensing, meaning that those sites will tend to put in the extra efforts required to create a seamless and localized experience.
It is highly unlikely that an online casino will support Panamanian balboa. Local currencies that are not widely adopted tend to not be attractive for sites to commit to. Panama is somewhat unique though in that its local currency is practically synonymous with the US dollar. The balboa has a fixed rate of 1 to 1 with the US dollar and both currencies are widely accepted across the country. This has been the case since 1903, meaning that the US dollar is ingrained into the local culture. The importance of this is the wide usage the US dollar has online. You will be hard-pressed to find a site that doesn’t allow you to deposit with dollars from a variety of different payment methods
Panama is home to land-based casinos numbering in the double digits now, as well as numerous smaller betting shops. What really sets the country apart though is its online policies that facilitate a fully regulated market with the opportunity for local and international businesses to apply for. This makes Panama and Curacao very similar, however, while Curacao is pretty open to applicants from around the world, Panama has somewhat specialized in the Spanish-speaking markets. The country has managed to set itself up in an ideal situation from an early stage and it is expected that the gambling industry will continue to prosper in the country for the foreseeable future.