Russia Could Allow Opening Land-Based Casinos in Crimea

1 May 2014

Operators who seek to buy slot games and open a land-based casino could soon start their gambling businesses in Crimea. Russian president Vladimir Putin has already submitted a draft bill that would allow the construction of brick-and-mortar casinos in the peninsula. During the 19th century, Crimea was known as one of the locations where the Russian elite would spend their vacations.

By introducing the new gambling bill, Russian lawmakers are looking to boost tourism in the peninsula and transform it into a destination that could become as popular as Macao or Las Vegas. Located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, Crimea could become one of the top gambling destinations worldwide.

Therefore, operators who would buy slot games and open land-based casinos in the peninsula could cater to the Russian high-rollers who can currently legally gamble in only four zones that are far away from Moscow. Besides these four zones, Kaliningrad Oblast, Azov-City (relocated to Anapa), Primorsky Krai and Altai Krai, no other regions in Russia are allowed to house gambling venues. Even so, the only place where land-based casinos were opened up to now is Yantarnaya in Kaliningrad.

This is a consequence of the decision that President Putin took in 2009, when land-based casinos and gambling venues were declared illegal. The gambling industry in Russia was highly affected by this decision, since the majority of the 58 casinos and 2,000 gaming rooms were closed at that time.

Sergei Aksyonov, acting leader of Crimea, recently declared that if the bill does pass into law, operators who buy slot games and open land-based casinos would probably open businesses in a specific gambling center rather than everywhere in the peninsula.

The new gambling bill is one of the latest steps that Russia has taken after Crimea became a de-facto part of Russia again. Lawmakers said that they have already put forward several plans that would boost the economic situation and encourage investment in the area.

1 May 2014

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