Things will change a lot in Panama for the gaming venues that offer slot machines as the government has recently accepted a new set of rules.
The rules include a number of new demands placed on operators and were published via Panama’s Official Gazette on 19 March.
Type A and Type C slot machines placed in Panama gaming venues will from now on be closely monitored by a central government-controlled server. The server will be connected to The Gaming Control Board (JCJ) and will verify the total amount of bets in real time.
Type B slot machines will be unaffected by the new rules since they can only read and pay out via player cards. Type B slot machines can be found outside casinos and slot halls and accept maximum bets of $5 and pay out the maximum of $5,000.
When the system is set up and starts working, the operators will have to pay for the system and for their slots to connect to the government server. The fee for connecting to the server is set at $5,000 and that’s not all. Each operator will have to supply the necessary equipment on site so that the SJC can monitor slots in real time. The technological platform and each update must be authorized by JCJ. The platforms are expected to be updated every two years.
Type A machines transfer a percentage of bets to JCJ and do not have a payout limit.
Together with the lottery, they account for 90% of the market with $2,007 million. Type A slot machines generated $1,482 million while lottery generated $526 million in 2017. Type A slot machines are located in fully-fledged casinos and hotels with over 300 rooms.
Type C slot machines only pay $150 fee to the regulatory body and it was impossible to track the number of bets and prizes paid out.
Being available to low bank-roll players with the maximum bet of $3 and maximum paid out of $200, they are considered to be the main cause of pathological gambling. With this new rules and connections to the government server, the data will be gathered daily, monthly and annually and the government would be able to assess data and react according to the results.
Nearly 6,000 type C slot machines are located all over the country, in rural areas and low-income neighbourhoods.
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