Putin signs Crimea and Sochi gambling zones into law

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law allowing for the creation of gambling zones in the newly-annexed Crimea and Sochi. The law was approved by the Russian parliament earlier this month.
    Gambling was banned in Russia in 2009, except in specially designated zones.
    The Russian legislation earlier allowed the establishment of gambling zones in the Altai Territory in West Siberia, the Krasnodar Territory in southern Russia, the Primorye Territory in the Far East and the Russian Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad.
    “The boundaries of the gaming zone on the territory of the Republic of Crimea are determined by the executive authorities of the republic,” the document says.
    A final decision on the Crimean location has not yet been made but acting Crimean head Sergey Aksyonov has said the gambling zone will most likely be located in Yalta, a cultural and tourist center on the Black Sea peninsula.
    The Sochi gambling zone will be accommodated within the boundaries of Olympic facilities, which were built using the funds of private investors.
    However, many of the existing zones have not attracted the expected revenue or tourism dollars as they tend to be remote and infrastructure is poor.
    The zone in the Far East in Vladivostok is seen as one of the most promising, with Goldman Sachs recently touting the zone as one of its top picks among the smaller Asian markets, along with Cambodia. It pointed to the exceptionally low tax regime, but said political instability and infrastructure may be issues.