As Kaliningrad’s first casino opens its doors, with a second casino for Sochi on the way and a sixth gaming zone on the cards, the prognosis for Russia’s gaming industry is looking decidedly upbeat.
Following something of a Russian winter, it would appear that spring has sprung for the country’s casino industry.
The first full casino in Kaliningrad’s Yantarnaya gambling zone opened its doors in January, operating in what was described as ‘technical mode’ with the official opening taking place a month later in February.
Developed by Steelman Partners who also worked on Sochi Casino and Resort and costing RUB2.5bn (E40m), the new venue, Sobranie, covers 18,000 sqm, hosting 14 gaming tables and 350 slot machines along with two restaurants.
Construction of the casino’s VIP complex is ongoing with the opening scheduled for Q3 2017, and operator, Yuni Management, plans to increase the number of tables to 40, and slot machines up to 1000.
Over in Sochi, the management of Sochi Casino and Resort has indicated that it plans to put in a bid for a second casino venue in the gaming zone.
“We’re going to be putting in a tender for a new venue in the Roza Khutor ski resort, this will be a separate establishment rather than an extension of the existing casino,” said Paul Edwards, deputy general manager at Sochi Casino and Resort.
Edwards emphasised that it would be important to differentiate the establishment from the existing business, stating that the new venue would be “more of a high volume operation”.
“If we’re going to do it then it’s got to be different from the existing offering, otherwise you’re in a situation where you’re competing with yourself. “It still has to have the same standards in place but the product we’ve got now is very luxury, so we’d probably be looking for more high turnover.
“We can see now what the tendencies are from the business we’ve got, and from that we can work out what is the best strategy to use for the next place as well.”
Meanwhile, local media reports suggest that Russia could soon see a sixth gaming zone in Dagestan, in the nation’s North Caucasus region.
Senator Suleiman Kerimov, billionaire owner of private equity company Nafta Moskva is alleged to be considering building two casinos and a yacht club in the republic.
The news comes on the heels of a report last month that Vladimir Vladimirov, the governor of the neighbouring Stavropol Krai region was also lobbying for the creation of a new gaming zone.