Betting in Panama City

Published: 02/04/2013

Founded in 1519 by Spanish conquistador Pedro Arias Dávila, Panama City has a long history preceding the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914. However, it has only been since 1989, when martial law was lifted and the country’s infamous dictator General Manuel Noriega was disposed, that the city has come into its own as a modern travel destination.

Today, Panama City has a population of 880,691, making it the largest city in the Republic of Panama. It is the nation’s capital, serving not only as the political and administrative center of the country but also as a hub for international banking and commerce. International Living magazine has ranked it among the top five places for retirement in the world, and in 2003 it was jointly named the American Capital of Culture along with Curitiba, Brazil.

The area just east of the city’s Pacific entrance of the canal—referred to as the Amador Causeway—is currently under development as a tourist center and nightlife destination. In the meantime, most of Panama City’s casinos are housed in major resort hotels, clustered in the districts between the downtown area and the University of Panama.

For example, the 327-room Veneto Wyndam Grand Hotel & Casino on Via Veneto in the El Cangrejo district has a 45,000-square-foot gaming space with 625 gaming machines and 56 table games. Included among the games open 24/7 are Craps, Blackjack, Mini-Baccarat, Poker, Roulette, Texas Hold’em and Casino War, plus a Race & Sports Book. There are also four restaurants on the premises.

Nearby, the Royal Casino at the Marriott offers 400 gaming machines and 30 table and poker games, open from 10am to 5:30am daily, and the 220-room Gran Hotel Soloy & Fiesta Casino offers a 3,444-square-foot gaming space open 24/7 with 193 gaming machines and six table games, plus a restaurant and a bar.

Similarly, the Hotel El Panama & Fiesta Casino is open daily 24 hours with a 20,000-square-foot gaming space, 320 gaming machines, 21 table and poker games, and 335 guestrooms. The Riande Granada Hotel & Crown Casino is also is open 24/7, featuring 40 gaming machines, five table games, two restaurants and 187 guestrooms. And the Continental Hotel & Crown Casino offers 150 gaming machines, 20 table games, two restaurants, a bar and 362 rooms, open daily 24 hours.

Casino Rio Abajo, with 80 gaming machines, is open daily from 9am to 1am, while the Princess Casino is open daily 10am to 6am, featuring a 27,000-square-foot gaming space with 450 gaming machines and 19 table and poker games. The property also has two restaurants, a bar and a hotel with 128 rooms. Likewise, the Crown Casino is open daily from 10am till 6am, with a 27,000-square-foot gaming space, four restaurants and a hotel with 380 rooms.

One of the very largest gambling venues in Panama City is the Casino Majestic, open 24 hours a day. It has 53,820 square feet of gaming space, featuring 440 gaming machines and 48 table and poker games, plus a bar and a hotel. Then, on the north side of the city is the Central Park Hotel and Golden Lion Casino, an international hotel with 325 rooms in addition to its avant-garde décor, personalized services, casino, spa and 24-hour security.

Competing with all these gambling facilities are the properties of the Fantastic Group. They include the Caribe Hotel & Fantastic Casino Caribe open 9am~2am daily with 131 gaming machines, two restaurants, a bar and 175 guestrooms. Another is the Hotel Internacional & Fantastic Casino Internacional, open daily from 9am to midnight; the casino area features 90 gaming machines, while hotel has 85 rooms.

The La Barra Fantastic Casino network is a chain of stand-alone slot machine arcades that dot Panama City. They include Fantastic Aguadulce, Fantastic Casa Miller, Fantastic Gran Estacion, Fantastic Los Andes and Fantastic Penonome, among others. Visitors to the city will also take note of the many lottery venders and their little wooden stands on the streets of Panama City, offering tickets for drawings on Wednesdays and Sundays under the auspices of the Loteria Nacional de Beneficiencia.

Horse racing is also available in Panama City at the Hipódromo Presidente Remón, originally established in 1956. Today, the facility in the Juan Diaz district features thoroughbred racing and pari-mutuel betting on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. It also has its own gaming space with 257 slot machines and 29 table games open 24/7.

Published on: 02/04/2013

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