A casino in Venezuela has announced that it will accept a number of crypto currencies as payment methods. As reported in CriptoNoticias the casino published the announcement on its Instagram page stating that as well as local currency, US dollars and Euros they would also accept bitcoin (BTC), ethereum (ETH) and tether (USDT). The casino also announced that it would accept crypto game Axie Infinity game tokens (SLP and AXS) as payment. Ciudad Jardín casino, located in the Hotel Pipo in Maracay, recently reopened its doors, creating 400 jobs.
The news comes on the heels of a number of recent surprises in the Venezuelan gambling industry. Earlier this month a Venezuelan lawmaker called out President Nicolás Maduro for granting 30 casino licenses. Deputy Nora Bracho used the issue of casinos to highlight the government’s failure to ensure the country’s power supply.
“While Maduro announces the reopening of casinos in the country the National Electric System is collapsed and on the verge of a total blackout,” said Deputy Nora Bracho.
According to unofficial sources the government of President Maduro issued 30 casino licenses for casinos across the country. Although there is still little official information from the government a new inspector of the National Commission of Casinos was appointed this month according to the government’s official twitter account. In addition Venezuela’s gambling regulator, the National Commission of Casinos, Bingo Rooms and Slot Machines (CNC) announced that operators with a casino license would need to connect with a central monitoring system that would enable the monitoring of all gaming activities in real-time.
The development is thought to be part of a larger reopening of the sector which began in January 2020 when the government authorized the operation of a casino at the Humbolt hotel in Caracas. All bets were reported to be only processed in petro, the country’s national digital currency. President Nicolás Maduro said at the time that all the funds raised would be allocated to social investment in areas such as education and health. The new measure was aimed to capitalise on the use of digital currency. However according to local press reports the Humboldt Casino only accepts US dollars as payment with reports emerging that entrance fees to the casino costs as much as US$100.
Maduro needs to raise funds in the face of an ever worsening crisis. Since 2015, some 5.6m Venezuelans have left the country. Venezuela’s economy has continued to collapse. The monthly inflation rate remains above a staggering 2,000 percent, while the IMF estimates the annual inflation rate to date in 2020 is 15,000 per cent. The Venezuelan economy is estimated to have contracted by about 26 percent in 2020.
Axie Infinity is an ethereum-based game similar to trading card games such as Pokémon. Sky Mavis, the game’s creator, saw a jump in revenue to $485m since July, according to a Bloomberg report. There are two types of tokens: Axie Infinity Shard token (AXS) and the in-game token Smooth Love Potion (SLP). According to Bloomberg most players are based in countries such as Brazil and Venezuela which have been especially hard hit by Covid-19 and where local currencies are losing value.