Russia’s land-based casino industry gaining pace

Russia land-based casino gambling industry Golden Coast crimea russia
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A new casino project is set to begin construction in the Republic of Crimea’s Golden Coast gaming zone this year, while direct flights recently launched between Sochi’s Krasnaya Polyana gaming zone and China’s techhub Shenzhen as part of plans to boost Chinese visitation.


While Russia’s gambling industry has grown slowly since the 2009 decision to restrict casinos to designated gambling zones, the country’s land-based sector appears to be gradually gaining pace. The Investment Council of the Republic of Crimea recently backed the development of a casino resort project in the region’s newly created gambling zone.

Costing RUB3bn ($48.4m), the project will be undertaken by a major investment company in the region and was unanimously approved at a 24 December meeting of the Investment Council.

The firm’s director Denis Kozorez said that the project will create more than 250 additional jobs, while construction will commence this year and is scheduled to be completed in 2023. Media reports suggest the new development will include a casino, a hotel complex, a theatre, a cinema and conference areas.

Russia’s prime minister Dmitry Medvedev signed the legislation formally approving the creation of the new ‘Golden Coast’ gaming zone in October last year. Elsewhere on the Black Sea coast, the resort city of Sochi has opened up a direct flight route with Shenzhen in China.

The launch of the new route was driven by the Krasnaya Polyana gambling zone, but the costs for operating the flights will reportedly be covered by travel company Bcts Travel Service Shenzhen co.

For an initial trial period there will be just one flight per week, but from March the number of weekly flights may be extended to four, provided the destination proves popular with Chinese visitors. “Chinese tourists are primarily interested in entertainment and that is why the gambling zone becomes a natural magnet for them,” said Krasnaya Polyana’s development director Dmitry Afinogenov.

The zone currently has two casinos, Sochi Casino and Resort, operated by LLC Domain, and Boomerang Casino, which commenced operations in January 2019. Moving across to the Russian far east, a senior official in Primorsky Krai recently revealed plans to develop up to 11 casino resorts in the Primorye Integrated Entertainment Zone, near Vladivostok.

Acting regional vice governor Konstantin Shestakov said it is expected that the 11 properties will be up and running by 2023. “We have entered the final stage of constructing two new entertainment complexes with casinos in the gambling zone,” he stated.

“An investor from Cambodia is completing an 11-story hotel with a casino and a concert hall, while a Russian investor, Shambhala CJSC, will launch its casino tentatively in March 2020. “Workers are already finishing the building.

“Two sites are currently free for the construction of a hotel complex with a casino, and there are companies that [are showing] interest,” Shestakov continued. “We are also negotiating the creation of entertainment facilities. An application has already been submitted for the construction of a golf course, we are establishing contacts with operators of large projects from the global entertainment industry.”

While NagaCorp had expected to open the first phase of Naga Vladivostok in the first half of 2020, the company recently reported that the project will face additional delays due to a change of construction contractor.

“We had to transition to another construction company, so that delayed things,” explained the company’s chairman Tim McNally. “If you see how far along the structure has gone in the last six to eight months, that may relieve any scepticism, we are 11 or 12 storeys up now.

“It’s a very challenging environment at times to work in. Now winter sets in, so there’s always a slowdown period, but we will pick back up and be full speed ahead come springtime,” he added.

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