Russia will soon have one more zone in which it will be legal to gamble after officials in the disputed region of Crimea reportedly approved the boundaries of a new casino-friendly area.
According to a report from the Novyy Krym news service, a decree from the Crimean Council Of Ministers has designated a 41-acre plot in the spa resort of Zhemchuzhina near Yalta as the nation’s latest gambling zone with Russian investors being invited to submit plans for the area’s first casino before July 15.
Tourism has long been a major source of revenues for Crimea, which was controversially annexed from Ukraine in February of 2014, with local officials stating that the establishment of a casino zone could bring in as many as 500,000 foreign tourists a year and provide employment for up to 2,000 locals.
A 2009 decision made gambling illegal in Russia with the exception of four disparate regions, the Kaliningrad Oblast on the Baltic Sea, the far eastern Primorsky Krai, the Krasnodar Krai on the Black Sea and central Asia’s Altai Krai, before the area around Sochi was added in 2014.
Although other areas on the peninsula were allegedly also being considered for the gambling zone, it is thought that Zhemchuzhina won out due to its relative close proximity to the region’s only major airport at Simferopol as well as its history as a casino hot spot until gambling was banned by Ukrainian officials seven years ago.