Nicolas Maduro, president of Venezuela, announced on Friday the opening of a new crypto-run casino in a battered country where betting halls have all but gone extinct.
A casino for relief
Maduro said Ávila National Park’s Hotel Humboldt will soon be home to an international casino that will operate with Petro (PTR), Venezuela’s state cryptocurrency, and that proceeds will fund the country’s public health and education sectors.
The announcement comes less than a decade after Maduro’s mentor, former president Hugo Chavez, ordered the closure of all betting places as harbors of prostitution, drugs and crime. Since 2011, as the then-relatively-prosperous country has degraded, only a limited number of online platforms have allowed Venezuelans to gamble.
What is this place, anyway?
While the casino seems to lack a name, Maduro’s enigmatic announcement comes with plenty of questions. He kept mum on the casino’s exact opening and whether the establishment, located in the “lungs of the city,” will give oxygen to similar venues. The logistics of how the casino will run — must guests use the Petroapp? Will the casino house crypto ATM’s? How will winners collect their spoils? — also remain a mystery.
Perhaps the announcement’s most poignant question is how, in a country that now lags globally in education and suffers a gutted public health structure, will the crypto casino’s funds support dire public health and education needs?
Given the Venezuelan government’s history of not delivering on promises related to the Petro, Cointelegraph advises readers to approach news on the subject with skepticism.
The power of crypto
As Cointelegraph reported last week, Madura announced plans for Venezuela t sell the reserves — 4.5 million barrels of oil — of its state-run oil and gas company, PDVSA, for Petro.
According to Maduro, the sale will help Venezuela “open roads to the new economy” and build a world of “peace and integration of peoples, their happiness and improvement.”