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Sochi and Crimea Pegged as Future Gambling Zones

Published: July 5, 2014 (Issue # 1818)



  • Analysts suggest Crimea's budget could get a 25 billion ruble ($725 million) boost annually by establishing a gambling zone.
    Photo: Yevgeni Razumny / Vedomosti

The State Duma passed a new law Friday bringing Crimea and, in a surprise move, post-Olympic resort town Sochi into the select group of Russian regions and territories that are allowed to establish gambling zones.

"The creation of a gambling zone in the Republic of Crimea will help attract additional investment in the region, create new jobs and replenish the revenue base of the regional budget," said Anatoly Karpov, first deputy chairman of the Duma's Economic Policy, Innovation Development and Entrepreneurship Committee, ITAR-Tass reported.

The Russian government essentially outlawed gambling in 2009, restricting it to four designated zones throughout Russia, but only one, the Azov-City gambling complex on the border of the Krasnodar and Rostov regions, has taken brought its special privilege to fruition. Similar zones in the Kaliningrad region, Primorye region and the republic of Altai are still under construction five years on.

In a surprise move, legislators inserted a clause into the bill during its second reading that allows for the creation of gambling facilities in Sochi, the venue for the Winter Olympic Games earlier this year. The bill stipulates, however, that gambling venues can only be established in Olympic facilities that were bank-rolled by private investors.

Proposals to turn Sochi into a Russian Las Vegas were floated by Sberbank chief German Gref this past winter at a meeting with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, but Medvedev at the time did not support the initiative, Vedomosti reported, citing individuals present at the meeting.

While the government has placed restrictions on where gambling zones can be established in Sochi, the bill gives Crimean authorities full jurisdiction over defining the location and boundaries of gambling areas.

Analysts suggest Crimea's budget could get a 25 billion ruble ($725 million) boost annually by establishing a gambling zone, Itar-Tass quoted Karpov as saying.

"You can expect an increase in the flow of tourists to the region, the development of the hotel business and food service," Karpov said.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russias Russian Knights stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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