Venezuela Expands Casinos, Approves Cryptocurrency Payments

Venezuela has been through a tough geopolitical spell. Under current President Nicolas Maduro, the country has known inflation struggles and poverty, and has become a pariah on the international scene. Yet, a butterfly effect from the Russian invasion of Ukraine has created new opportunities for the autocratic regime, which is enjoying a breather in the sanctions against it as its oil is a resource of global significance and as of March – scarcity. But this is not all, as President Maduro is now keen to phase casinos and gambling back in, and he already laid the groundwork for casinos which will hopefully help boost the economy.

Undoing Chavez’ Opposition to Gambling

Previously banned under Hugo Chavez, the country’s previous president and long-time strongman who passed away in 2013, Maduro sees casino gambling as a way to bolster the state’s coffers. Maduro has none of the qualms of his predecessor who said that casinos were causing social degradation.

But it’s not just casinos that have arrived in the country as cryptocurrencies are now being adopted, too, and specifically for the purposes of gambling. Ciudad Jardin, one of the casinos in the country, is already accepting various digital currencies, including Bitcoin and Tether. It’s also one of the newest arrivals on the newly-regulated gambling markets under President Maduro.

The casino began accepting cryptocurrencies last Friday through the CoinCoinX cryptocurrency exchange that is making the transactions possible. Located on the Isla Margarita island in Nueva Esparta, this Las Vegas-styled casino resort is focused on attracting tourists, who are beginning to pour in through the borders thanks to sanction relaxation.

Dozens of Locations Approved for New Casinos

But Maduro’s ambitions are much more serious and he wants to see more casinos arrive in places such as Caracas, Miranda, Nueva Esparta, Aragua, Lara, Zulia, and others. While Venezuela can use the additional money it will get from casinos, the country’s finances are in a dire strait.

Maduro’s government has begun cutting out subsidies to various parts of the economy, including water supply and electricity. The average Colombian makes $25 a month, the result of years of sanctions that limited the country and tipped it over an economic precipice. Now this will be slowly undone. Whether casinos will help remains to be seen.

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