Sixth Casino Zone May Get Green Light in Russia

Russia may be on its way to designating a sixth gaming zone with casino venues, according to recent reports by local media outlets. Word has leaked out that a Turkish architecture firm was hired to develop a gaming area near Makhachkala, the capital city of the Russian Republic of Dagestan.

A hotel, yacht club, shopping facilities, two casinos, and several betting shops will reportedly be built as part of a $100-million project for a new gambling and entertainment complex. According to Russian media, businessman and politician Suleyman Kerimov and his investment holding Nafta Moskva are to commission the development project in question.

Mr. Kerimov bought a controlling stake in Nafta Moskva in the late 1990s. Several years later, he acquired the whole company, restructuring it from an oil trading one into an investment holding. Despite the recent media reports, the company has denied any involvement in a potential casino project.

Under Russia’s gambling law from 2009, casino gambling is strictly prohibited in the country with the exception of four specially designated areas in the Kaliningrad, Krasnodar, Altai, and Primorksy regions. A fifth zone – near Sochi – was later on approved by the Russian government. Although it is located in the Krasnodar region, the 2014 Winter Olympics host was given the nod to develop its own gambling area as part of efforts for its further renovation even after the end of the major sports event.

Several casino venues have already opened doors around Russia since the introduction of the 2009 law. Tigre de Cristal, a casino resort in the Primorsky region, opened doors in late 2015. Located in Russia’s Far East, the property is aimed at attracting Chinese gambling customers at the time when Macau is in a bit of a struggle to draw that particular group.

Earlier this year, a first casino resort was launched in the Sochi zone. The first such venue in Russia’s newly designated zone – Sochi Casino and Resort, has been promoted as one that offers a unique entertainment concept, inspired by the casino resorts in Las Vegas.

Earlier this year, the Governor of Russia’s Stavropol Krai has proposed the development of a new gaming zone in the region under his governance.

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