Crimea could be the ‘Las Vegas of the Black Sea’

  • Crimean Peninsula’s new gambling zone aimed at foreign visitors
  • Special plans are in place to make investment easier

Las Vegas, Macau, Atlantic City and…Crimea?

If you’re picking your favourite land-based casino locations, the recently ‘acquired’ Russian territory may not be first on your list, but the newly created Republic’s Prime Minister has made it his wish to create a new legal gambling haven.

The Crimean Prime Minister's plan for the newly created republic could see a 'Las Vegas of the Black Sea'
The Crimean Prime Minister’s plan for the newly created republic could see a ‘Las Vegas of the Black Sea’

Speaking in an interview Russian news agency TASS, Sergey Aksyonov stated that the gambling zone would akin to a ‘Las Vegas of the Black Sea’, and will be aimed at attracting foreign tourists. The new zone will be situated nearby to the resort city of Yalta.

“(The gambling zone will be meant for) guests mostly. Including foreign visitors,” Aksyonov said, suggesting that the aim of the new region is to stimulate tourism and investment. He has also hinted at special strategies to aid investment, but no details have been revealed as yet.

Game plans for investors

Further statements by Aksyonov suggest that Crimean authorities are poised to offer ‘game plans’ and strategies to new investors, which will bypass sanctions. This seems to be a kind of fast-track project to kickstart the region.

He stated: “There are certain arrangements that will make it possible to bypass the sanctions. I will keep quiet about such secrets for now. Nobody would agree to invest in this project, if there were doubts this plan might not work.”

Plans are already in place for Yalta’s Zhemchuzhina health resort. Aksyonov stated that construction work will begin later this year.

Gambling zone follows Putin approval

These grand designs follow in the wake of a new law signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2014, which established a gambling zone in the Crimea. This behaviour actually runs counter to his domestic gambling policies; Putin backed legislation in 2006 that closed most of Russia’s casinos and slot-machine venues. Bloomberg News speculates that the move is intended to give Crimea more fiscal autonomy, rather than relying on subsidy from Moscow.

The zone is expected to be complete by 2019 and has investment from a large Russian company to the tune of 8 billion rubles ($138 million). Expert estimates claim that the new zone will boost the gaming industry enough to produce 25 million rubles per annum for the region ($437,000).

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