Russia’s State Duma passed a new law on Friday, July 4, allowing the establishment of gambling zones in Crimea and Sochi, Russian newspaper St. Petersburg Times reports.
Anatoly Karpov, deputy chairman of the Duma’s Economic Policy, Innovation Development and Entrepreneurship Committee, was cited as saying: “The creation of a gambling zone in the Republic of Crimea will help attract additional investment to the region, create new jobs and replenish the revenue base of the regional budget.”
Russia currently has one gambling zone in operation – on the border between Krasnodar Territory and Rostov region – and three more are being built in Kaliningrad, Altai and Primorsky regions.
“Sochi makes a lot more sense than Crimea,” Jonathan Galaviz, partner at Global Market Advisors LLC, told GGRAsia last month.
“The infrastructure built in Sochi due to the recent Winter Olympics held there is significant and would support tourism growth,” said Mr Galaviz. But he warned: “It would be important for Sochi to approach the casino gaming issue in the same way Vladivostok did – with transparency and structure.”
In April, a draft law to establish a gambling zone in Crimea was submitted to the Russian parliament, after the Kremlin declared the Ukrainian territory part of Russia.
On Friday, Russian legislators inserted a clause into the bill during its second reading that allows for the creation of gambling facilities in Sochi, the St. Petersburg Times reported. The bill stipulates, however, that gambling venues can only be established in Olympic facilities that were financed by private investors, the report added.
The bill gives Crimean authorities full jurisdiction over defining the location and boundaries of gambling areas.
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