November 8, 2017

SOCIALISM’S JUST ANOTHER WORD FOR NOTHING LEFT TO GAIN: Venezuelan crisis spawns boom in gambling.

“Most people I see playing the lottery are unemployed, trying to make a bit extra this way because the payouts are good,” said Veruska Torres, 26, a nurse who recently lost her job in a pharmacy and now plays Animalitos every day.

Torres often plays more than a dozen times daily at the kiosk in Catia, spending between 5,000-10,000 bolivars, but sometimes making up to 50,000 or 60,000 bolivars in winnings – more than a quarter of the monthly minimum wage.

When that happens, she splits the money between buying food and diapers for her baby boy, and re-investing in the lottery.

The Animalitos game, whose results appear on YouTube at scheduled times, is hugely popular because it goes through various rounds, holding people’s interest, and provides more chances to win than most traditional betting options.

The cheapest ticket costs just 100 bolivars – a quarter of a U.S. cent at the black market currency rate, and more than 10 times less than that at the official exchange level.

If Venezuela defaults, as is widely expected, Animalitos winnings will be worth less than the ticket by the time Torres gets her payout.

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