Tigre de Cristal certified China-friendly; gambling tax to double

The DOMINO trading zone in the Primorye-based Tigre de Cristal entertainment complex has been certified “China Friendly” under the Russian federal program which encourages travel for Chinese tourists.

China Friendly is a federal program in which travel companies, hotels, museums, etc. from Russia get certified for a fee, in exchange, they are advertised on the Chinese Internet.

“We are trying to maintain an equally high level of service for tourists from any country, however, given the geographical position of Primorye Territory, tourists and gamblers from China are our main foreign clients,” said Tigre de Cristal CEO Stylianos Tsifetakis.

“Starting from this year our guests can not only visit restaurants or play in the casino but also make purchases in luxury stores. The DOMINO trading pavilions of premium watches and jewelry now conform to the international standards for the reception of Chinese tourists and have acquired the China Friendly status. We also plan that in the near future these stores will receive the duty-free status, which is another positive factor for the reception of tourists,” he added.

In 2017, Tigre de Cristal expanded its range of services by opening luxury stores.

During the first nine months months of 2017, casinos were visited by more than 150,000 foreign tourists, 85 per cent of whom are Chinese citizens, according to the Betting Business Russia publication.

MPs to double gambling tax

The Russian parliament is finally set to consider a bill on increasing gambling taxes in the second reading on November 10.

Its latest amendments, which passed the first reading in May 2016, apply to all taxable gambling activities.

The updated bill envisages a two-fold increase in gambling tax rates, as earlier proposed by the Russian Finance Ministry.

The amendments set the following tax rates countrywide: from RUB 50,000 (US$863) to RUB 250,000 for a gaming table or a processing centre run by a tote or a bookmaker; from RUB 3,000 to RUB 15,000 for a slot machine.

The document introduces a RUB 2.5 to 3 million tax on an online bet processing centre (TSUPIS). Currently, there are two TSUPIS operating in Russia, run by two rivaling self-regulating organisations of bookmakers.