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.
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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.
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.
A gambling license is intended to protect players, and one of its main functions is to provide a mechanism for resolving disputes when they come up. If you have a dispute with a casino, and the casino is being unreasonable, the gambling authority will help you. For many licenses, this means you can contact the gambling authority to get help processing your withdrawals, claiming money the casino has debited from your account, or resolving other disputes that might arise. The likelihood that the gambling authority will help you in ways that are effective, however, depends on the procedures they have in place for this. This is yet another reason why choosing to play at a casino that has a safe license is important.
Getting help directly from the gambling authority is not always necessary, or even an option. A lot of regulators have now enforced third-party dispute resolution. This means casinos must have an agreement with an arbitrator who will look into disputes on the behalf of players from a particular casino. This ensures your dispute will be reviewed by an objective third party. All trusted online casinos have information about arbitration on their websites if they use this option, or they’ll have the contact information for the gambling authority you should consult. However, you should always try to resolve your issues with the casino first, and a lot of casinos have separate email addresses specifically for handling complaints.
If you’re worried about the security of the transactions you’re making at a casino, you should look for a logo with the acronym PCI DSS. This stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, and this is something the payment industry has created. If you see this logo, it means the casino can be trusted for safe money transactions since they follow all of the rules set by the payment industry. Information about this can also be found in an FAQ section on the casino’s website.Another thing to look out for in terms of payments is where your money is kept while you play. Some gambling authorities, all of the best ones actually, regulate what the casino can do with your money while they are holding it. Your money shouldn’t go into a general bank account held by the casino; it should go into an account that is strictly for holding player funds. This means that as long as you have the money in your player account, it can’t be spent by the casino. Your deposit will be kept separate from the operating funds of the casino until your player account is empty, which will happen if you make a funds withdrawal or if you lose the money while playing.
The best known system tool for ensuring that a casino offers fair games is eCogra; however, there are other providers that also offer these kinds of systems. You want to make sure that the casino is using a certified third-party control system to ensure that the games of chance you’re playing are actually based on chance and not on other types of metrics. Rigged games are ones that have been set up to pay out less than they claim to or ones that give some players a greater chance of winning than others.
The eCogra logo can often be found in the footer of the casino’s website, but not all casinos choose to display it. If you can’t see this logo, go to the FAQs and see if you can find information about random number generators. If there are no FAQs on the site, check out their terms and conditions or contact the casino’s support and ask how they ensure their games are safe.
Most trustworthy casinos have information about site security in the website footer, so simply scroll down and look for the logo of a well-known security system.
The gambling license a casino operates under will have a big impact on your security. Not all licenses are equally safe for players for the simple reason that they are issued by different gambling authorities that work in different ways and have different rules. The rules and regulations may be quite similar, but the way they are enforced is a different story entirely. For example, if a casino doesn’t comply with the regulations, some gambling authorities may just issue a fine while others may revoke the casino’s license outright. How often gambling authorities show up for an unscheduled inspection or control will also vary.
The biggest differences between a safe, high quality gambling license and one that isn’t as good will usually show up in the areas of fair gaming, dispute resolution and the rules and systems for identifying and handling problem gamblers (responsible gambling). If your country of residence has its own gambling authority, playing at casinos that are licensed by them will be the safest option for you. Other international licenses that can be trusted are issued by the Malta Gambling Authority and the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority. Curacao eGaming is getting better at protecting players whereas licenses from Panama and Costa Rica, for instance, are considered less safe. The worst option is obviously a casino with no license whatsoever.