The first casino in the world that would operate only in crypto currency is set to open gates in the strangest of all locations worldwide – Venezuela – and it will accept only petros.
If you do not have petro, you cannot play
The announcement by the Venezuela President Nikolas Maduro that Hotel Humboldt in the Ávila National Park will house a casino that would operate only with petros /PTR/, the state’s crypto currency, raises a lot of eyebrows in the country as it marks a U-turn from the total ban on gambling imposed by the former president Hugo Chavez in 2011 that resulted into all betting places being closed and gambling become extinct.
This seems to be another attempt at breeding life into the oil-backed Venezuelan crypto currency, as it comes after his order to the state-run oil and gas company, PDVSA, to sell all of its 4.5mln barrels of oil reserves for petro, followed by the decree regarding the airplane companies flying from Caracas that they should buy the fuel by paying for it in “petro”.
Imposing is not the same as accepting
His attempts to artificially boost the use of the state crypto currency, in line with his pledge during his state of the union address, include forcing Venezuelans to pay for state document services including issuing of passports only in petro, as well as approving public employees bonuses and pension payments in petro, but the latter resulted into the quick exchange back into bolivars or even other currencies as people were looking for protection of their earnings from inflation, and forced the government’s recent decision to block the exchange of petro.
Since its introduction in 2018, as a means of circumventing the economic sanctions imposed by the US and the resulting liquidity crisis, the state-backed petro has not attracted much interest from investors and even now it is viewed by risk rating websites as “scam”, and even the government’s actions towards pushing people for a widely use of the crypto currency turn to be futile.
Care to share the details, Mr. Maduro?
The announcement for the forthcoming opening of the casino, though for a good cause as the revenue from it will go towards country’s public health and education sectors, looks like a smokescreen to divert public attention from the dire economic state of the country, marred by deep recession and international sanctions resulting into dwindling oil output and starvation for hard currency, and the lack of details about when the new casino might launch and the way the supposed petro casino will operate, further fuels this suspicion.