A plan has long been in the works
Russia has given its formal approval for the development of a new zone for casinos in the annexed territory of Crimea. This came after Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a piece of legislation giving the ‘Golden Coast’ gaming area the green light.
The government plans for the first casino in the area to be open by 2022. The site for the new gambling zone will be located in the region of Yalta.
a significant casino operator already on board for one of the region’s new casinos
The casino development project has been in the planning stages for the past five years. According to the Russian administrator in Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov, there is a significant casino operator already on board for one of the region’s new casinos. This partnership still requires official confirmation.
Potential roadblocks for operators getting involved
When Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, a number of major Western nations introduced financial sanctions on the region. It was not long ago either that the European Union extended the ban which prevents any EU states from investing in Crimea, which means it will remain in place for at least another twelve months.
any casino companies that are looking to be part of this new casino zone in Crimea will likely have to be Russian
In September, the United States confirmed that its sanctions on the region would stay as they are unless Russia removes itself from Crimea. As a result, any casino companies that are looking to be part of this new casino zone in Crimea will likely have to be Russian or come from a nation that has good relations with the country. These include the likes of Cambodia and China.
The gambling sector in Russia
In 2009, most forms of gambling were made illegal in Russia. Casinos could only operate in four designated zones in the country’s somewhat isolated areas. Two more gaming locations were added in 2014, but to date, it is only Primorye that has managed to gain the attention of non-Russian casino operators.
Crimea is already home to sports betting shops. With the newly approved project, locals will be able to look forward to casino gambling too.
There are some potential logistical issues for the new gaming zone in Crimea. The closest airport to the area is a military facility 70 kilometers away, but there are plans in place to create a terminal for civilians.