Putin Legalizes Gambling in Sochi and the Crimea
Experts have said that the Crimean and Sochi gambling zones have the potential to yield up to $750 million per year for the regional budget.
Russian President, Vladimir Putin, signed into law on Wednesday allowing the establishment of two new gambling zones in Russia.
The zones, located in the newly annexed Crimea and the site of the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, will be turned into the countries newest gambling zones.
A move Putin hopes will boost the country’s development with the gambling revenues.
The casinos will be legal in some parts of the Sochi area and it will be the job of local authorities to designate their own casino zones in the Crimea. Investors in Sochi have already made complaints about the loss of money in the resorts and the Vneshekonombank Development Bank, which funded construction with multibillion dollar loans, has asked the Russian Government to bail out some of the borrowers.
The legalization of gambling in the newly annexed Crimea region, a Peninsula that once hosted the Russian Navy Black Sea Fleet, is a move that not all political parties were pleased with. The communist Party in particular, voted against the bill as the region is a place that many view as one with military glory, not to be sullied by the addition of casinos. “The gaming business will stimulate nothing but banditry and debauchery, we cannot vote for such laws” said the Senior Communist MP, Nikolai Kolomoitsev, during the parliamentary debate that occurred earlier in the month.
He also went on to argue that the current gambling zones, the ones located in the Altai Territory, the Primorye Territory and the Baltic Enclave of Kaliningrad, are not successful and that the region would be better suited to growing peaches and developing the regions existing vineyards. “That’s when Crimeans will be glad to return to their motherland” he added, to which Putin replied: “I think that would be a shame” showing the current presidents eagerness for the planned casinos and the success of other gambling zones such as the Azov City Zone in the Krasnodar Region in Southern Russia has done nothing but fuel the fire.
Sharing in with the government’s plans, Crimean officials see the planned gambling zones as a means for new economic development. Deputy Governor Rustam Temirgaliyev said in a statement to the RBK Daily in April: “The gambling zone should become some sort of engine for the Crimean economy. We have ambitious plans, we are counting on our gambling zone becoming a direct competitor to Macau, Monaco and Las Vegas.
Authors of the law believe that the creation of the new gambling zone will assist in the attraction of new investors for the region which will create a host of new jobs and replenish the regions budget.
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