Trying to boost business in the $42 billion investment in Sochi, Russian authorities have already announced shutting down casinos in the Azov-City gaming zone. However, the president Vladimir Putin has decided to sign a bill that extends the life of these casinos to 1st of January, 2019, allowing operators to earn back some of their investments.
Among other things, the document highlights the powers of the Russian government, stating that the Cabinet won’t have the authority to meddle with the decision to liquidate a gambling zone until 10 years past its creation. According to what’s written in the bill, Azov-City is going to be shut down in approximately two and a half years from now, while it’s still possible to organize and conduct gaming activities on its territory based on permits issued before 23rd of July, 2014.
Currently, the law in Russia doesn’t allow more than one gaming zone per a constituent entity, meaning that if a zone is located on several territories then another one cannot exist. However, the bill neutralizes these requirements within the Krasnodar Territory until 1st of January, 2019 in order to make it possible a Sochi gaming zone to be up and running before Azov-City is terminated.
This move by the government was strongly criticised by investors and experts who claimed that it could scare international operators from entering the Russian gaming market. Moreover, the region in question employs up to 2,500 people that will lose their jobs if the Azov-City zone is closed.
Aside from signing the bill, Russian president Putin stated his stance on introduction of gaming machines outside gaming zones too, saying that he was opposing such a practise. He highlighted that all sides agreed it was for the best not to place gaming machines outside established zones and concluded that the government won’t allow it.