The legislation is intended to boost levels of tourism and investment in both regions as Sochi and the Crimea are popular holiday destinations for many Russians and officials hope that this new legislation will strengthen the economies of both regions. Some analysts have predicted that the creation of the Crimean gambling zone could add up to 25 billion roubles (£426.5 million) to the local economy on an annual basis. While no site has been chosen for the new gambling centre, the acting head of the Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, has reported to ITAR-TASS that it will most likely be located in Yalta, one of the biggest resort cities in the Russian-speaking world.
The push to further develop the tourism industry in the Crimea could have a positive effect on the region, which has been the subject of international attention as Russia and Ukraine fight for control of the area.
Sochi, a resort town on the Black Sea, saw the addition of world class facilities when it hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics. The move to establish a gambling zone in the area was supported by German Gref, who is the head of Sberbank, Russia’s largest banking institution. The leading banker is said to have suggested the idea to Russian officials just this past winter.
Potential investors have already begun to submit proposals for casinos to the relevant authorities in both Sochi and the Crimea. Prior to the approval of the new law, gambling in Russia was restricted to just four designated zones in the Altai, Krasnodar, Primorye and Kaliningrad regions.