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Venezuela – Casino opens in Bolívar State

By - 26 June 2023

Another casino has opened in Venezuela joining the handful of casinos believed to be in operation. The casino opened in a hotel in Ciudad Guayana, a city in Bolívar State.

Details remain thin on the ground as to its size and the terms of its licence. According to a tweet by the state governor the casino was a means by which “Venezuela continues to open spaces for investment and the economic development of the Homeland.” The governor also bizarrely described the casino as a space for “family entertainment.”

Venezuela has been opening up its economy to some extent but the situation remains dire. Today inflation runs rampant in the once-prosperous OPEC nation. In 2019 Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro relaxed price controls and allowed for widespread transactions in foreign currency. Maduro says he wants sanctions to be lifted by the Biden administration and has signalled a change of approach reflected by the liberalisation of the economy in the last few years.

In September 2021 Maduro pledged to completely launch gambling in the country again with the reopening of 30 casinos.

Casinos were outlawed in the country when ex President, Hugo Chávez, opted to shut all casinos and bingo halls, saying they were ‘venues of doom’ that were being used to ‘line the pockets of the bourgeoisie.’ The closures left about 100,000 people unemployed.

Maduro has come under some criticism for allowing them and in 2021 a Venezuelan lawmaker called him out on it. Deputy Nora Bracho used the issue of casinos to highlight the government’s failure to keep the lights on. “While Maduro announces the reopening of casinos in the country the National Electric System is collapsed and on the verge of a total blackout,” she said

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