The Cooperative Republic of Guyana now has gambling… sort of. For those of you who are geographically challenged, Guyana is located on the northern coast of South America, bordered by Venezuela, Brazil and some country called Suriname. The country has been ruled by settlers from Spain, France, the Netherlands and England over the course of its history, but gained its independence in 1966.
Now the country has taken the first step toward joining many parts of the world in allowing gambling as a source of revenue. Guyana’s main industry is eco-tourism, with visitors coming from around the world to take in their pristine beaches. By adding casinos, they hope to bring in tourists that are currently going to Brazil, the US and elsewhere.
On Saturday, the country made history by cutting the ribbon on the nation’s first casino. The Princess Hotel houses 11 gaming tables, including blackjack and poker, and 300 slot machines. Those involved in the casino are even hoping it can host a stop in the 2011 World Poker Tour.
There is a catch, though. The new casino is only open to foreigners. Visitors from other countries can go inside the casino and gamble to their heart’s content, but locals are not allowed. This casino is for tourism only. To be certain that no locals are patronizing the casino, everyone who enters must show proof of their nationality through a passport or other means.
Honestly, I’ve never heard of such a thing, opening a business within your borders but not letting anyone who lives in your country use it. There is no ban on online gambling in Guyana, though, so the locals are free to frequent online casinos and play their blackjack there. However, there are no online casinos run out of Guyana, so locals must patronize the casinos of foreign countries to play.