Liberia has been such a disastrous mess in recent decades that it would be amazing to find anything that still operated in the country, let alone casinos. However, that undervalues the resourcefulness of the Liberians themselves for Liberia’s casinos in fact amount to two.
The country was first founded as a refuge for slaves freed in the United States, so it always had something of a tension between the more educated returning slaves and the indigenous population. This continued down the years, from the founding in the 1850’s to 1980. The country was run by descendants of those freed slaves and in some ways remained in a time warp: until the 1980’s, the President and his ministers, for example, still wore Victorian clothes, tail coats, and top hats (and can you imagine that in the African heat?).
Samuel Doe, who was descended from one of the local tribes, in 1980, overthrew that ruling class, and the old leaders were executed by firing squad upon the beach. There then followed some 25 years of vicious violence in which hundreds of thousands of the inhabitants were killed, often in grossly brutal ways. This finally came to an end with a UN sponsored peace mission just a couple of years ago.
With that sort of background and recent history, plus the destitution and poverty of the country and the people, it might be surprising to learn that there are any Liberia casinos at all: But, it seems to be a fact that in such war zones and despotic dictatorships that a couple will stay open, so that those at the top can gamble the money they extort.
List of Liberia’s casinos:
– Casino Monrovia
– Casino Oceano
The Oceano has roulette, blackjack, and poker tables, as well as slots. Both of the Liberian casinos are in Monrovia, the capital.
As an example of how divided the country was (and as something of an explanation for the rage that drove the two recent civil wars), the current President is the daughter of the very first indigenous Liberian to even be elected to the national legislature, let alone anything more important. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is actually, by the standards of that part of Africa, over qualified to be a politician: she’s worked for both Citibank and the World Bank. Her opponent in the recent elections was actually George Weah, an international soccer player.
With the recent peace (and the involvement of the UN in its imposition means it will probably stick), it is likely that the gangster element will disappear from Liberia’s casinos, and it might be even true that the sector will expand.
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