The list of the Democratic Republic of Congo casinos is a fairly short one.
Depending upon who you believe there are either one or two in the country: something of a surprise for a country roughly the size of Western Europe.
However, looking at it another way, this is a country so poor that they don’t even collect the statistics telling how poor they are: if you try to look up things like GDP and trade figures and so on they are simply blank in all of the major guides.
The list of the Democratic Republic of Congo casinos starts with the one that we do know exists: The InterContinental Kinshasa Hotel and Casino.
This is the main (possibly only) western style hotel in the capital city and is the scene of a lot of the action in Michaela Wrong’s magnificent description of the country under and after Mobutu, ‘In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz’.
That title itself coming from the short story/novella by Joseph Conrad, ‘Into the Heart of Darkness’.
For dedicated movie buffs this is also the plot that makes up the heart of Coppola’s movie, ‘Apocalypse Now’: in fact that movie draws on two books for its basis.
Conrad, with the Marlon Brando character ‘going native’ and using the lines ‘The horror, the horror’ and ‘Dispatches’, a memoir of a US helicopter pilot in Vietnam.
The essential story of Wrong’s book is how Mobutu first maneuvered himself into power and then raped the country of anything and everything that could possibly be used to build an economy.
What happened afterwards is possibly even worse: as the country fell apart the surrounding countries began sending troops in to take over parts of the vast mineral wealth of the place.
This led to a war which over the past decade has killed at least 4 million people: the worst in the world anywhere since WWII.
Given such violence and the absence of anything resembling a functioning economy it really shouldn’t be all that surprising that the list of the Democratic Republic of Congo casinos should be so short: only a few hangers-on of the strongmen could ever actually afford to go to a casino or indeed bet upon anything.
There is said to be one other casino in the country, in Pointe Noire, the M’Bou-M’Voumvou Pointe Noir Hotel Casino, about which little is known outside the country.
Given that daily life in the middle of such a war is something of a gamble in itself this shouldn’t perhaps be all that surprising.
It will also be true that with so many armies wandering around that there will be a great deal of illegal and unsanctioned gambling going on: however, gambling with men with guns is not a recommended activity.