Russian President Vladimir Putin recently signed a law legalizing new gambling operations in Sochi and Crimea. Gambling will be allowed in certain zones only, as set by local executive authorities. Yalta will most likely be the gambling destination in Crimea. It's already a popular tourist destination on the Black Sea, so gambling would be a logical addition.
Russia hopes to boost the local economies with this legalization, as the casinos will add investors to the two areas and create a number of new jobs. Experts tell ITAR-TASS that the Crimean gambling area could add as much as $750 million to the regional budget every year. This is also a way for Russia to further solidify their hold on Crimea, as the global community still does not fully recognize their occupation of this Ukrainian area.
As for the Sochi gambling area, it will be within the buildings which were used for the 2014 Winter Olympics. The move to create this gambling area came with a push from Sberbank's leader, German Gref, which is Russia's largest lender. Sochi (another seaside resort town) will also have a stadium for the 2018 World Cup, and the gambling will add another dynamic to the wave of tourists arriving for the games.
Russia already allows gambling, but only in specifically authorized zones, in West Siberia, the Krasnodar Territory, Primorye Territory, and Kaliningrad.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.