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Venezuela – Crackdown on illegals continues in Caracas

By - 21 June 2013

The government of Venezuela has continued its long running campaign against illegal gaming with the confiscation of 277 slot machines in Caracas.

The announcement was made by the Head of Press for the Ministry of Interior Relations, Justice and Peace Jorge Galindo. In the statement released via Mr Galindo’s Twitter account the National Commission for Casinos confiscated the machines in a number of raids in capital Caracas along with 12 roulette tables, three electronic horse racing tables, a blackjack table, five poker tables and two bingo parlours.

Despite a large number of recent raids it is believed that illegal gaming is on the rise in Venezuela. While President Hugo Chavez did not ban casinos or bingo halls outright during his 14 years in power he was strongly opposed to gaming on principle. As a result the industry was almost constantly targeted with a wide number of closures after onsite inspections and raids.

Former President Chavez also transferred the power to grant licences to gaming establishments from local governments to a newly established National Commission of Casinos, Bingo Halls and Slot Machines under the Ministry of Justice which grants licenses. The commission was particularly active in 2011 when the Commission closed down almost all of the bingo halls and slot parlours in the country, and revoked licences which had been granted by local authorities.

Raids against illegal gaming have continued apace this year. In January authorities confiscated 217 slot machines in the city of Maracaibo while in May the commission along with members of the National Guard confiscated 128 slot machines in the city of Puerto La Cruz.

The new President Nicolas Maduro, who was sworn in as president in April, has vowed to continue the socialist revolution put in place by Chavez. As a result it would appear that the already beleaguered gaming industry in Venezuela will continue to decline while the illegal gaming sector will undoubtedly continue to thrive.

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