Russia Places Crimea Zone Casino Plans On Back Burner After Putin Visit
News reports in Russia indicate that the nation’s widely reported plans to develop a new gambling zone in Crimea have hit a snag. This is after Russian President Vladimir Putin made a visit to the territory on January 11 and went back with a bad impression over the ability of the young republic to handle such a huge casino market.
The gambling industry insiders were abuzz with the potential of a gambling zone in the Crimea region, which was annexed by Russia from Ukraine five years ago, despite the disapproval of much of the Western world. In October 2019, Russia had just given its formal approval for the new gambling zone called “Golden Coast”. The legislation was signed by Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s Prime Minister. Golden Coast was set to inaugurate its first casino in 2022; it was going to be located in an unassuming village in the Yalta Region called Katsiveli.
Prospects for Golden Coast became brighter in Nov 2019 when Sergey Aksyonov, the chief of the Crimean Republic, disclosed that at least three investors were lined up for the zone’s development, bringing a total of RUB3 billion ($48.7 million) to the project. News during this time also stated that an investment agreement was set to be signed by the close of 2019.
Putin’s visit to Crimea last week has put a damper on the proceedings. After excoriating the republic’s environmental, water supply, healthcare, and sanitation issues, Putin issued a number of edicts to Crimean officials to address his concerns. As a result of these edicts, insiders within the Aksyonov administration have revealed that they believe it would be prudent to prioritize the health and infrastructure issues raised by Putin before moving forward with their gambling zone plans.
Foreign Investments Unlikely
When Russia annexed Crimea, Western nations levied a battery of financial sanctions on both countries. The sanctions remain in effect for the foreseeable future. These restrictions only permit Russian investors to support the Crimean gambling zone to avoid any complications.
Land-based casinos have been banned for the most part in Russia since 2009; only four gambling zones have been approved in the large nation, each of which are considered geographically isolated. In 2014, Sochi and Crimea were added to the list. Currently, just one of Russia’s gambling zones has received any investments from gambling firms abroad: the Primorye zone in the east.