With billions of dollars already invested in infrastructure and facilities for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Russia is moving ahead with plans to populate another gambling zone, this one in the Krasnodar region and specifically at Gorki Gorod Ski Resort, among other nearby venues.

Russia Gaming Week Sochi will be held at the Sea Galaxy Hotel on October 27 to introduce potential suppliers, operators, and investors to the potentials offered by the new zone, which will replace Azov-City by January 1, 2019.

Russian Poker Tour founder, Eric Shahbazyan is one speaker who will share knowledge within his niche of expertise which includes organizing the largest series of poker tournaments in the CIS. Mr. Shahbazyan also founded Casino Style magazine, which was later renamed Poker Style. He left publishing to focus primarily on popularizing poker in the region holding tournaments and producing the first in Russia TV show Poker Club.

Shahbazyan is well aware of how holding events such as those he has organized, attracting thousands of CIS and European players, can enhance awareness of and the prestige of the venues they are held in and will speak on the topic of: “The influence of international poker events on the development of Russian gambling tourism”.

Elena Zakharova, PR-manager of “City of Hills” will speak on the topic: “Will the gambling zone in Sochi, a new tool to attract tourists to the region all year round?”

Key issues she will cover include which operator(s) might work in Krasnaya Polyana ski resort area – when the first casinos may open, and a strategy for the continued development of infrastructure in Sochi, as well as revenue expectations for the zone. Guests and participants at the conference will be able to ask the expert questions about the gambling zone in Sochi.

In earlier reports and interviews, Ms. Zakharova spoke of the likelihood of the City of Hills casino(s) not planning to attract large crowds – rather gamblers who prefer low-key leisure and games (most likely high rollers looking for a discreet getaway in their region).

RGW Sochi Media recently spoke with Maria Lepschikova, a legal expert, and counsel for PL LLC, in order to discuss legal aspects of gaming zone operations. She stated that Article 12, p.4 of the Federal Law № 244-FZ has been changed and that Krasnaya Polyana gaming zone boundaries have been established allowing for gaming development there. Land can now be leased, and gambling activities can be organized.

Ms. Lepschikova cited specific Russian law that dictates the minimum investment threshold for casino or slots hall operators at not less than 600 million rubles (US$9.57m).  The calculation method has not been specified by the Russian government. She went on to explain that foreign investors can consider the possibility of working in Krasnaya Polyana only on the behalf of a Russian legal entity, which they will have to either create or buy a stake in.

In regard to the perceived competition between Azov-City and Sochi, she noted that Azov-City has already developed its pool of customers while Krasnaya Polyana is designed mostly for foreign tourists. She also mentioned that it will take some time for the new zone to ramp up, and as Azov-City will close by the end of 2018, “I would say that the two zones will coexist in 2017-2018, without interfering with each other.”

RGW Sochi will be open to registered participants and visitors. To learn more or to buy tickets to the event, please visit http://rgwsochi.ru/en/registration .