The Next Macau & Las Vegas? Crimea and Sochi See Future as Gambling Centers (MT)
On Friday, Russia’s State Duma passed a new law bringing Crimea and the post-Olympic resort town Sochi into the select group of Russian regions and territories that are allowed to establish gambling zones. Analysts say that Crimea’s budget could get a 25 billion ruble ($725 million) boost annually by establishing a gambling zone.
Gambling was outlawed across Russia in 2009 with the exception of four designated zones, established at the same time as the ban. However, only Azov-City, on the border of the Krasnodar and Rostov regions of southern Russia, has emerged as a gambling center, while planned zones in the Kaliningrad region, Primorye region and the republic of Altai are still under construction nearly five years later. Azov-City did bring in 140 million rubles in taxes last year ($3.9 million), of which 120 million came from the zone’s three casinos.
It should be noted that under Russian law, gambling zones cannot be built on government funds – meaning private investors are needed. The just passed bill also stipulates that gambling venues can only be established in Olympic facilities that were bank-rolled by private investors.
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