The national lottery from Panamá, Lotería Nacional de Beneficencia (LNB), contributed nearly half billion dollars to the State between 2015 and 2019.

According to a report from the Department of Tax Studies of the General Directorate of Income (DGI) of the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), LNB’s contribution totaled $554.8 million, while it also sent $100 million to the National Treasury.

Lotteries in the Latin American country were suspended in March to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which is why the sector has been shut down for more than six months.

In the three months leading to the closure, the lotteries contributed nearly $16.2 million. Although the LNB carried out normal operations in the first two months of the year, contributions in February 2020 ($5.6 million) were significantly lower than in the same month in 2019 ($12.7 million), 2018 ($7.8 million) and 2017 ($6.1 million).

The local Ministry of Health recently approved the reopening of the sector from October 12, and shops are now allowed to adapt their spaces in order to comply with safety protocols. Some of the measures will force businesses to adapt their cancellation and return areas to avoid large crowds, the installation of screens to guarantee the minimum distance between vendors and customers, and the creation of a Health Committee to guarantee that agencies comply with the protocols.

Last month, the Vice Minister of Commerce and Industries of Panama, Omar Montilla, said that he expects criticism once they reopen gambling halls, but that it is necessary to understand that the sector contributes to the economy and generates jobs.