Venezuela’s Casino Market Grows With New Venue in Barquisimeto

Venezuela flipped the script on its anti-casino policy two years ago when President Nicolas Maduro reversed a decade-old ban. Since then, several venues have arrived, and the latest is the country’s central state of Lara.

Casino Tiuna
Casino Tiuna
The sign outside the Casino Tiuna in Venezuela at night. The casino is the latest to join the country’s growing landscape. (Image: Caiga Quien Caiga)

The new casino comes after Maduro gave the green light to a complete overhaul of gambling in the country after 10 years. It’s located in the city of Barquisimeto, which opened another casino three months ago.

Casino Tiuna opened its doors this past weekend after overcoming several obstacles, according to Al Navio. Paperwork and lingering issues from COVID-19 caused delays, but it was finally able to come to life.

Banking On Tourism

More than just a means to increase revenue through taxes, the governor of Lara, Adolfo Pereira, sees the casino expansion as an opportunity for growth. Barquisimeto has a population of around 881,000 and Lara over 2 million, and the casino will help bring tourism and entrepreneurship to the region.

The new casino provides more than 200 direct and 400 indirect jobs, according to the governor. It operates seven days a week from 11 AM to 3 AM, offering slots, table games, bingo and more.

This past August, Royal Casinos Barquisimeto opened its doors, although not without a few technical glitches. That venue can welcome up to 1,000 people and offers the same types of gaming options as Casino Tiuna. The casino, according to the local government, added more than 300 new jobs to the economy.

The Casino Coliseo was inaugurated this past June, located on the Las Minas in San Antonio de Los Altos. Billed as the largest gambling house in the country, it has five gaming floors that provide the entire gambit of gambling options.

That same month, the Las Vegas casino in the popular tourist area of ​​Isla Margarita in the Venezuelan state of Nueva Esparta began to accept cryptocurrencies as a form of payment. That came through an agreement between the casino and the cryptocurrency exchange CoinCoinX, and helped kill one of Maduro’s earlier casino ideas. Initially, casinos were only going to be able to accept Venezuela’s Petro cryptocurrency, which has turned out to be a colossal failure.

Online Casinos May Be Next

Venezuela had casinos a long time ago, before the country’s leaders decided that they were only “imperialistic” tools. Former dictator Hugo Chavez ensured that they stayed away, although changes began to emerge in 1997.

That year, the National Commission on Casinos emerged through legislation to oversee license issuance and regulations. However, nothing more happened until after Maduro took over.

Facing a rapidly decelerating economy and accelerating inflation, Maduro didn’t know how to respond at first. He has since made a number of changes in the country’s direction, including warming up to the US and erasing the “imperialistic” connotation stamped on gambling.

Venezuela went from banning land-based casinos and online gambling to reopening the doors for this type of establishment in 2021. Although the government is still conservative, it could not resist opening up the economy.

However, the online casino and betting market is not regulated, with the exception of a few betting sites in the country. In addition, the law doesn’t penalize the activity, so players can play without repercussions. That carries the caveat, of course, that they also have no protection from the government if something goes wrong.

Seeing how the online gaming industry in Latin America is exploding, Venezuela could join the market. It has already made huge strides with the return of land-based casinos, so moving online is a logical next step.

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