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Las Vegas in Russian: no one wants to go to gaming zones

Major Russian gambling companies have not decided yet to take part in the Great Relocation of gaming business to the special zones, and foreign investors are poised to observe the mass migration of casinos sidewise at first.

The Moscow share of the Russian gaming market is 46%, and no one dares to forecast what will happen to the market when casinos and slot machines are deported from the capital city to the zones. This is the conclusion reached by the participants of a Russian Real Estate Market Forum section; the Forum was held in Le Meridian Moscow Country Club Russia.

The economic component of the market has not been calculated by anyone so farm and the market opinion is rather negative than positive, as the investments in creating the zones will excess the profitability figures, says Evgeniy Kovtun, Vice-President of Gambling Operators Association. Quite a few government statements have not been passed so far, in particular, those defining the borders of the zones and, which is the most essential, solving the issue of the budgetary allocation for the project. These documents unavailable, it is impossible to launch the development of the zones. In the best-case scenario the statements will be passed in late spring or in summer.

It has been a year since the law on state regulation of the gaming business was adopted, and the zones allotted for building the gaming infrastructure are still no more than naked fields.

"Las Vegas also used to be a small village in the desert once,” recollects Bob Miller, an ex-governor of Nevada. It was in his ruling that multi-billion investments started coming to the gaming business in Las Vegas. “It took about 80 years to turn a piece of the American desert into a global gambling destination.”

"3-5 years for development of the region in Russia is an optimistic expectation. The remoteness of the zones is a huge problem. Foreigners (investors) are warier about these projects in Russia now than 1.5 years ago,” says Miller.

ADM Group has prepared an expert estimation of the research concerning the coming development of a gaming zone in Rostov region. It is the zone that has higher odds now than the rest, due to the future Olympics in Sochi. However, there is still nothing there but for a naked field and shallow coastline (1 thousand hectares in Rostov region, 1 thousand hectares in Krasnodar region and 80 hectares of the Azov Sea coastline).

60 billion rubles must be allotted for this zone, and “it is twice more than the entire gaming business brought to the budget last year. It is unknown whether the money will be allotted”, remarked Kovtun.

"They appreciate the problem in the administration of Rostov region but say that no one has given instructions to debate the possible success of the project, they have just ordered to perform,” comments German Krasheninnikov, ADM`s general director.

Even in Moscow it takes about two years from designing the project to its coming into operation when a property is developed. And it will take much more time to create gaming zones, therefore the operators are sure that no zones will have appeared by July 1st, 2009.

DP.ru

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Interview at MyCasCom with Evgeny Kovtun. ->
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The first English-language edition of Evgeny Kovtuns book Legal regulation of gambling in former USSR countries ->
14-11-2008
Igor Ballo: Law is always better than lawlessness ->

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