Moderator Fernando was joined by Manuel Sanchez and Karen Sierra to discuss the appeal of Panama to investors, the future of online gambling for Panama and illegal gambling during SiGMA FOCUS LatAm.
Panama is new to the online gambling sphere, having been legislated and approved on March 6th 2020. When discussing online gambling in Panama today Sanchez, the executive secretary of the Panama Gaming Control Board, noted this move has launched the country into the international market for online games. Panama: the new kid on the block proving itself a key player for iGaming
Could Panama be swung into the forefront of the online gambling market?
Sanchez believes that Panama could become an international competitor, with keen investors due to a host of factors such as currency, geographical position, Panamanian cultural, and having one of the highest minimum wages in LatAm.
“We are going to compete with countries like Argentina, Colombia, Peru, because Panama has a robust legislation. We have legal security for those investors who want to come to Panama to establish their websites here”.
Sierra, VP of LatAm and Caribbean at GLI, adds that in comparison to other LatAm regulations and internationally, Panama reaches a high level.
A high level from the technical point of view, a high level from the administrative and legal point of view, but also very favourable for investment and for the interest that operators and also suppliers may have in entering Panama.
Investors and Panama
While Panama may not be the largest country, there is a strong playing culture making the country very appealing to investors, especially given significant revenues of around $390 million generated in face-to-face gaming.
Thus, a question potential operators interested in investing in Panama would like to know is how to enter the market?
Sanchez argues there may be hurdles given the GLI, who provide the technical standards of resolution 11 of March 6th 2020, are strict and “To be able to operate in Panama, you have to be authorized by one of the laboratories in my country, one of those is GLI”.
Karen Sierra’s company GLI has supported lawyers on the legislation side by providing the technical standards required from operators.
In response to the positive aspects of the regulation, Sierra mentions that unlike most jurisdictions in Latin America, “You don't have to have a face-to-face gaming license to have an online gaming license and that is an important part of the regulation”. She adds that creativity in terms of games from suppliers is abundant following COVID-19.
Illegal gambling in Panama
Illegal gambling is also a hot topic for investors, and Panama has taken necessary steps to tackle the issue. Sanchez has been working closely on the issue:
I depend on the government's innovation authority, which is something else that Panama has, and we are already working on guidelines where we are going to block more than 250 illegal domains that exist in Panama.
He further stresses that all websites, specifically offering sportsbooks, require a logo now approved by his board of directors stating ‘play responsibly’.
SiGMA Group Americas Digital Summit is running from the 22nd to 24th September, bringing well-known faces from the Latin American gaming and tech sector to a series of in-depth debate panels, with content offered in Spanish, Portuguese, and English.
The 7th edition of SiGMA Europe will move its November event to February 16th to 18th 2021.