International edition
September 23, 2020

Overturning a ban in place since 2011

Venezuela: Maduro authorizes opening of cryptocurrency casino in Caracas

Venezuela: Maduro authorizes opening of cryptocurrency casino in Caracas
The cash-strapped country is currently reeling under US sanctions imposed in an attempt to force Maduro from power.
Venezuela | 01/21/2020

Located within the Humboldt Hotel in the capital city of Venezuela, the gaming hall will accept wagers in the country's ailing "Petro" cryptocurrency. The resources would be used to finance health and education.

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n late 2011, Hugo Chavez, who served as Venezuela's president from 1999-2013, ordered the closure of casinos and bingo halls but the economy's serious liquidity problems appear to have changed President Nicolas Maduro's mind.

Maduro said he had "authorized legal gambling" in Petros at the Humboldt Hotel in Caracas and that the resources would be used to finance "health, education, in convertible currency, in foreign currency."

The cash-strapped country is currently reeling under US sanctions imposed in an attempt to force Maduro from power, the Deccan Herald reports.

Last week, the socialist leader had used his annual speech to the ruling Constituent Assembly to try to revive the controversial Petro that has been banned by the United States and labeled a "scam" by some risk-rating bodies.

Maduro decreed that airlines flying from Caracas must pay for fuel in Petros.

Backed by Venezuela's vast oil reserves, the Petro was introduced in 2018 as a way to circumvent wide-ranging US sanctions and overcome chronic liquidity shortages.

Maduro wants the virtual currency to become a widely used means of payment by Venezuelans, yet most people have no idea how to use it. 

But while the Petro has failed to win investor confidence, other cryptocurrencies have proved hugely popular in Venezuela as a refuge against hyperinflation.

Maduro last December approved bonuses in Petros for public employees and pensioners. However, experts said the Petros was quickly changed back to bolivars and then to other currencies. 

The government last week blocked the exchange of Petros for bolivars.

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