Crimea has been a painful spot for both Ukrainians and Russians, especially after Russia annexed it a couple of years ago.
Despite the ongoing controversy about this peninsula in the Black Sea, Russia has begun taking steps forward towards opening new hospitality and entertainment places in the area.
One week ago, Dmitry Medvedev, the Prime Minister of Russia, signed a document that officially recognizes and approves the creation of a gaming zone on the peninsula.
The new “Golden Coast” will see the first casino open sometime during 2022, and it will be located near the village of Katsiveli, which is located in the region of Yalta on the coast of the Black Sea.
The plans for starting a gaming region in Crimea aren’t exactly new. In fact, Russian officials have been discussing the idea ever since Russia took that area from Ukraine by force, which was approximately five years ago.
According to the Russian administrator of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, the country is currently negotiating with a big casino operator, and they believe the operator would accept the offer for the Crimean project.
The problem with future casinos in Crimea is of political nature, as the European Union imposed sanctions on Russia after it annexed the peninsula.
Member states of the EU are not able to make any investments in the area for another year, and the United States also agrees with them, putting Russia under sanctions until they leave Crimea.
Judging by the plans for the casino area, the Russians do not plan on leaving Crimea soon.
No American Operators
Since Russia is under sanctions, operators from countries that imposed those sanctions will definitely not be investing in Crimea, and this includes the entire European Union and the United States.
On the other hand, Russia has a lot of countries that have a developed gambling industry, including China and Cambodia.
In fact, Cambodia’s NagaCorp is currently collaborating with Russia, as they plan to open a casino on the other casino coast of this country, which is called the Primorye gaming zone, located near Vladivostok.
Russia has not been open towards gambling, banning all casinos and sportsbooks from the country with a country-wide gambling ban back in 2009.
However, it has a couple of special geographically isolated areas where casinos can be built and operated, including the Primorye zone, Sochi, and Crimea.
However, gambling operators that are not from Russia did not show much interest in either Crimea or Sochi, meaning that Primorsky Krai remains the only zone of interest for international operators.
One of the reasons why they don’t seem too interested in building casinos is the lack of proper infrastructure that could help people visit casinos. The same problem persists with Crimea as well.
Taking into account the political crisis, the lack of proper infrastructure, the sanctions, and all other things, it seems that building a casino in Crimea may not be such a good idea after all.
Perhaps the Russian officials know something that we don’t? Does Russia have an ace up its sleeve that could magically make Crimea attractive to tourists?