As part of measures to stimulate the country’s economy, Venezuela’s government recently allowed casinos to reopen, a decade after they were closed.
The government is said to have issued 30 licences for venues across the country. Several of the new casinos will reportedly accept cryptocurrencies. Casino Ciudad Jardín, situated in Hotel Pipo Internacional in Maracay, announced on social media it would take Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tether, and Axie Infinity. Last year, media reports stated a gaming room at the Humboldt Hotel in Caracas would accept Petros, in an attempt to promote the usage of the government- backed cryptocurrency.
Venezuela’s economy is in the eighth year of a deep recession. The crisis has seen president Nicolás Maduro quietly lift a number of restrictions on the economy. “For Maduro, it’s necessary and important to open the casinos due to, among other things, the possibility of spurring certain economic activities,” said economist Leonardo Buniak.
Fellow economist Manuel Sutherland argued the casino legalisation will not have a significant impact on the country’s GDP, although it could help bring back jobs that were lost 10 years ago and generate higher tax revenues at the municipal level. “Mainly in the country’s interior, casino activity …could generate some taxes …for those municipalities [for] painting sidewalks, remodelling something or planting a tree here and there,” he said.
Buniak suggested the initiative could create up to 12,000 direct jobs. “It’s not going to have an impact on employment in Venezuela, but it’s going to create jobs and that’s positive,” he added.