The list of Equatorial Guinea casinos with gaming tables for blackjack, roulette and so on is really rather short. There are none. However, there are a number of Equatorial Guinea casinos, if we want to use that term for them, which have gaming machines. There are some five of them in the country.
This shouldn’t really be all this surprising in one sense, this lack of Equatorial Guinea casinos. It’s a very small country (10,000 square miles only) with a very small population, about half a million people only. This is smaller than many counties in either the UK or the US and it is very much the smallest country on the African continent.
Another reason it shouldn’t be surprising is that the place is absolutely dirt poor, destitute in fact. Until just a few years ago the only export of any significance was cocoa and while at independence the place was rich off the back of that trade the intervening years of coups, military rulers and the general looting of the economy have taken it from one of the richest places in Africa to one of the poorest. There may be, as many have pointed out, a lot of ruin in a nation but Equatorial Guinea has shown that there isn’t an unlimited supply.
However, one event in 1996 meant that we would have expected the list of Equatorial Guinea’s casinos to lengthen: the first crude oil started to be pumped and the country is now the third largest exporter in Africa. Where there is such volumes of oil there is of course a great deal of money and you might expect some of that to be splashing around in casinos and such places. But here though, almost none of that oil wealth has made it to the people, not even to the Government itself most of the time: the dictator, Obiang, essentially treats the oil revenues and the national Treasury as his personal check book. This means that while the country is rich by the statistics, about as rich as Portugal or Spain, none of this wealth is in the pocketbooks of the people or even the public services: raw sewage runs down the main streets of the capital.
It may in fact be true that a lot of the county’s wealth does indeed pass through casinos but that is much more likely to be done in Monaco or other foreign places where the elite go to spend the money from the oil.