How to obtain an iGaming license in Panama?.
If you are planning to set up an online casino or betting site, but are unsure which jurisdiction to choose, Panama could be a good option to consider. Located in Central America, it has been a hub for financial services and offshore banking for a long time, and it also has a well-established online gambling industry.
About the country
The Republic of Panama is the southernmost country in Central America. It is one of the biggest financial, merchant, and transport centers in Latin America.
Gambling is legal and regulated in Panama since 1886. The Panama Gaming Control Board (Junta de Control de Juegos), established in 1947, controls the gaming industry in Panama. But until 1997, only state-owned gambling operators were allowed to operate officially (e.g.: lottery, horse racing betting, casinos).
However, due to corruption, organized crime involvement, and mismanagement, casinos were privatized, and private operators were allowed in the market in 1997.
To position itself as an Internet Gaming location, the Gaming Control Board passed Resolution No. 65 of October 25, 2002, whereby Internet gaming is permitted in Panama. The resolution has the objective to provide for the development of gaming activities by electronic means and other long-distance communications, with certain restrictions.
How to obtain a gambling license in Panama
To open its comprehensive web activities in gambling, the following is required:
- To issue a power of attorney to one of the lawyers residing in Panama authorising the right to submit the relevant application and also to appoint a legal representative from among local residents;
- To open a business subject to licensing;
- To have a business plan, as well as the confirmation of your qualification of the minimal level required to perform gambling operations online;
- Background checks on all key individuals involved with the business;
- To pay all duties as required by government regulations;
- To prove financial viability and validate the working capital available;
- To dispose of the software package to recognize the player’s location and his financial sources (as an alternative, payments from America are non-accessible).
In case something does not correspond to requirements, the Junta de Control de Juegos will provide a checklist of necessary improvements.
Cost of a Panama gambling license
Cost to Get a License: $40,000.
Cost of License Renewal: $20,000.
Added Fees: Initial costs for license processing (under $10,000)
Advantages of Panama as a gambling jurisdiction
- A Panama Gambling License covers all forms of online gambling including Casino, eSports, Poker, Sports Betting, Lotto, Bingo, Horseracing, Bitcoin Casino, Fantasy Sports, Games of Skill, and other gaming-related activities without being required to obtain one license for each product.
- Panama has political stability, first-rate telecommunications facilities, and a well-established financial services industry.
- Panama Gambling License is recognized by many countries all over the world, so you will have a large potential customer base after getting it.
- The Panamanian legal system offers significant privacy protection to companies and their owners, keeping their identities out of the public domain.
Internet gaming companies domiciled in Panama enjoy complete tax exemptions. Customs duty concessions are given for imports needed to carry on Internet gaming. As long as the income made from Internet operations is from outside Panama, there is no income tax, withholding tax, sales tax, or VAT tax. Offshore companies, such as online gaming companies are not subject to foreign exchange control.
Drawbacks of a gambling license in Panama
- Experienced online gamblers know about the Panama license, but casual players might not. When they see “Panama” on a site, they could doubt its credibility, which could harm operators’ business.
- Panama has faced past challenges related to transparency and money laundering, affecting its reputation internationally.
- The Panama gambling license’s credibility may be undermined due to Panama’s inclusion in the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes, potentially restricting business opportunities with Europe.
- A significant drawback of the Panama gambling license is the lack of a well-established track record of online gambling websites obtaining this license, potentially leading to doubts about its credibility and acceptance within the industry.
Operators seeking a less conventional license might find Panama appealing. With its infrastructure, experience, and welcoming approach, it’s a good jurisdiction for launching online gambling start-ups, which, however, has its disadvantages as listed above.