Less than a year ago, government officials passed a law that banned gambling venues in all of Russia, except for four designated gambling zones. On January 30, the first legal Russian casino opened in one of these zones, the Krasnodar region/Azov City gambling zone. Reports from media sources in Russia and in eastern Europe show that progress in the other three zones has come to a halt. Planning and documentation have not been completed for these locations.
Investors have not taken the steps to start projects in those three areas, but gamblers in the Azov City region are more fortunate. Plans include a dedicated area for slot machines, two general casino “halls” and a restaurant/bar. Some people in the industry call the opening of the new Russian casino a momentous occasion. In fact some have stated that the most important thing is just getting the casino open. To them it’s not critical that all of the gamblers’ expectations are met.
Gambling has been illegal in Russia for a long time, but this doesn’t mean that individuals have given up on the pastime. They just had to travel to Monaco, various European countries or to the United States. According to information from Royal Time Company, that business will be allowed to offer gambling activity in Casino Oracle. First reports state that the first legal Russian casino design uses gold as a primary color, with at least 200 slot machines and a small number of table games to begin the action. The company will invest the equivalent of $150 million minimum in the first four years. Investors see this casino as a hub for a growing resort area.
Media reports show that there are no hotels in Azov City at the present time. Visitors who want to stay overnight or for extended time periods will have to find accommodations in nearby towns. But Russian casino operators have already taken a cue from businesses around the globe. Shuttle buses will take gamblers to the casino without charge. Newspaper and Internet reports state that the high-rollers and VIPs may be transported by taxi or limousine.
One of the keys to success in this Russian venture is the belief that the casino-hub idea will work. Government officials and a few contractors carried the torch for a long time but it appears that private investors have started to get on the casino train as well. This investment activity has continued to grow since Russian politicians passed a gambling-regulation law in 2007. This law changed the view of gambling from “illegal” to “regulated.” It took a year or two more for investors to be convinced. Local and regional governments are expected to benefit from the equivalent of billions of dollars in new revenue from the first legal Russian casino.