Will Cuba Lift Online Casino Ban?
HAVANA, CUBA --
When Raul Castro took over control in Cuba this year, many Cubans believed they were facing a continuation of failed Communist policies. They thought the new leader would be an extension of his older brother Fidel. There were no celebrations in Little Havana, and none of the millions of South Florida Cubans headed back.
Fast forward a few months. The new Cuban dictator has surprised many by easing restrictions in several areas once banned by Fidel Castro. As you may have heard, Cubans can now own DVD players, cellphones, microwave ovens, and other retail goods.
In addition, Cuba has also began its mass distribution of land to private farmers. Poor farmers across the country are receiving land from the government to grow crops in the dairy market, plus tobbaco and coffee industries.
With these changes already happening, many have speculated about the possibility of Cuba lifting its ban on internet gambling sites and online casinos. Cuba has always taken a negative stance on casinos and gambling. Back in the 50's, they tore down many of the privately owned casino resorts during the revolution. In 2004, Cuba placed a ban on home internet access for its citizens due to lack of bandwidth in the country. The government at that time claimed it was creating the law to preserve bandwidth for schools, offices, and the hospital.
The Carribean is known as the online casino capital of the world. Many of the best online casinos and popular international sportsbooks operate in areas like Antigua, Jamaica, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and others.
Many of these countries base a large percentage of their economic output in the online gaming sector. With all of the trouble Cuba is having economically, it would make sense for them to take advantage of the $15 billion dollar a year industry. Really, what do they have to lose?
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