Last Friday, Nicolás Maduro, the president of Venezuela announced the opening of a new international casino in the capital, designed around its state-run cryptocurrency.
According to local reports, the new casino will be opened at the recently-restored Humboldt Hotel in the Ávila National Park (Caracas), a seven-star resort that accepts payment in Petro coins (PTR)—an oil-backed digital currency issued by the government of Venezuela.
"I have authorized legal bets with petros,” said Maduro during a joint television and radio broadcast.
President Madura has promoted the Petro across Venezuela. Image: Shutterstock.
Patrons will be able to wager using the Petro, which will be available to purchase with a variety of cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies at the casino. The opening date has not yet been set.
The president clarified that casino profits would be funneled into the economy, where they will be used to improve Venezuela's education and health care systems among other things.
"You can come to bet, there will be offers, special prices. You buy your petro file, you can buy it if you bring yuan, if you bring yen, dollars, euros or any other cryptocurrency [...] buy your petros and make your licit bets allowed by the state as contemplated by national laws," said Maduro.
This is the most recent step in a series of acts designed to promote the use of the Petro cryptocurrency. Just last week, Maduro ordered a state-run gas and oil company, Petroleum of Venezuela (PDVSA), to sell 4.5 million barrels of oil for PTR and declared that airlines operating outbound flights from Venezuela must use the Petro to pay for fuel.
Last month, Maduro airdropped half a Petro (worth around $30) to public sector workers, retirees and military personnel that registered to the PetroApp before Christmas. But this may have caused the minimum wage in Venezuela to drop to $2 per month. And this recent gambling push is hardly going to help.