Barquisimeto, Venezuela Casino Opens with Technical Issues, Glitches

Posted on: August 30, 2022, 07:04h. 

Last updated on: September 1, 2022, 03:23h.

Venezuela is hoping the country’s newest casino can help to alleviate its economic troubles. But the opening of the new facility in the city of Barquisimeto didn’t go according to plan.

Flor de Venezuela Cultural Center
The Flor de Venezuela Cultural Center in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, at night. The city is home to the country’s newest casino, which opened on August 27. (Image: Minube)

The Royal Casinos Barquisimeto held its grand opening this past Saturday, welcoming patrons from across the region to join the celebration. Located in the state of Lara in Venezuela’s northwest, Barquisimeto is its capital city and home to around 880,000 people.

With the celebration in full swing and everyone in the mood to party, everything came to a grinding halt. Noticias Barquisimeto reported an electrical failure, leaving everyone in the dark. That left some attending the celebration feeling that the casino’s future may also be dark.

Casino Overload

The casino is large, considering its location. It can hold over 1,000 gamblers and offers table games, roulette wheels, and slots. What’s missing, according to the media outlet, is trained personnel. The croupiers are friendly and attentive but need additional fortification of their skills.

The power outage damped the mood of the evening for many people. Even when the power returned, things weren’t the same. Machines glitched, and visitors expecting some sort of good fortune emptied their pockets for nothing.

What began with laser shows and a high degree of enthusiasm turned into a somber event for some. They left the casino after determining that the hype leading up to the event had been nothing more than smoke and mirrors.

Smoke was an issue as well. Attendees were lighting up inside the casino, despite Venezuela’s ban on indoor smoking.

Despite all the fanfare before the event, casino management didn’t want to draw a lot of attention inside the venue. They wouldn’t allow media to film, nor was a representative available for interviews.

Venezuela Banks on Casinos

Over two years ago, Venezuela’s President, Nicolas Maduro, reversed a decade-old moratorium on casino gambling. However, his first attempt was somewhat of a failure. He forced the Humboldt Hotel’s new casino to trade exclusively in the failed Petro cryptocurrency experiment, which didn’t go well.

Then, last year, a new casino regime arrived, and it could accept other cryptocurrencies. In total, 30 casinos received a new operating permit after a decade of closure, and several, including Ciudad Jardin, jumped at the chance.

The first to open was the Inter Casino at the Inter-Hotel in Maracaibo. It will celebrate its first anniversary next month. Ciudad Jardin at the Pipo Internacional Hotel in Maracay followed shortly after.

This past June, the Casino Coliseo held its grand opening. This gave residents of Caracas more choices, as the casino is just a short drive to the south in San Antonio de Los Altos. At about the same time, the new Las Vegas Casino in Nueva Esparta appeared in Isla Margarita.

The grand opening of the Royal Casinos Barquisimeto had a few setbacks, which is nothing new in a city plagued with public electricity and water issues. Across the country, where dictator Hugo Chavez used to decry capitalism, more signs of a crude and budding free enterprise system continue to emerge.