Russian Federation casinos and gambling
Gambling and casinos were quite prevalent in Russia until new laws came into effect in 2009 outlawing casinos except in special gambling zones. We formerly listed over 170 casinos in the Russian Federation, but in early 2015 there were only 4 casinos in operation - three of those slated to close by April 1 - with some interesting reasoning behind it... read on.
Current Russia Casino Situation
After the mass closures in 2009, four special zones were setup where casinos would be allowed, all in a diverse region of the country. These zones were Altai Krai - Siberian Coin; Kaliningrad region - Yantarnaya; Krasnodar Krai - Azov City, and Primorsky Krai - Primorye. In 2014 two more zones were added - Crimea and Sochi. Crimea as most people remember was recently annexed at risk of aggitating most of the western world. Sochi is probably remembered by most as the site of the Winter Olympics. Sochi is in the same region as Azov City, and although the three casinos in Azov City were growing and successful, they were told to close up shop by April 1st in order to relieve any possible competition for the Sochi casinos to come. Oracul, Shambala, and Nirvana casinos will close shop and the operators will invest in the new area, according to current intel.
Here is the current layout and overview of the Russian gaming zones:
Yantarnaya gambling zone - city Amberland is expected to open Phase I with a total area of 18,000 square meters by September 1, 2015. This phase will include gambling halls, restaurants, bars, and a VIP hotel. By the spring of 2016 Phase II should be completed with a four-star hotel, marina boardwalk, amusement park, and other amenities covering 40,000 sq. m. The total investment in Amberland by 2029 is a minimum of 45 billion rubles.
Primorye Gambling Zone - developments totaling more than 619 hectares on the Ussuri Bay coast near Vladivostok will include as many as 8 casinos, each with a 3, 4, or 5 star hotel along with every other imaginable amenity including a yacht club and other sports facilities. This project should contain one of the largest casinos in the Federation with a gamblng floor of 7,200 square meters (75,000 sq ft). Look for Primorsky Entertainment Resort City and Tiger de Cristal to be the starters in this zone.
Siberian Coin Gambling Zone - The first casino to open here was the Altai Palace Casino on November 1, 2014. Expect 15 casinos here in ten major gambling and entertainment complexes with a combined total of 30 hotels. People are expected to come to this area not only for gaming but the nature the zone provides from mountains to lakes and rugged wilderness.
Sochi Gambling Zone - as of this writing there have been no confirmed projects for this zone but it will be the easiest to develop as all of the infra-structure and new buildings are already in place from the Olympic Village spreading outward.
Crimea - The area is still in too much disarray to seriously consider immediate development.
Additional Zones proposed: The Kazakh gambling market may host 2 zones. Kapshagay (60 km from Almaty) is being considered for 10 casinos and Borovoe (280 km from Astana) for a single casino.
Gambling in Russia - Conclusion:
The plans seems lofty but one thing is certain, gambling has already returned to Russia. Perhaps Russia will realize its dreams of surpassing Macau and Las Vegas - and perhaps they won't. But with the 1.5 trillion rubles (around US$42 billion) already spent on Sochi (perhaps no accident it ran some 500% of the original projection) there is little reason to believe it won't be full steam ahead there - especially with the closing of three highly successful and growing casinos in the near area.