In Russia, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (pictured) has reportedly signed an official order that will see the casino gambling zone near the southern city of Azov closed from the last day of December.

A decade in the making:

According to an October 24 report from, Russia passed legislation in 2007 that made casino gambling illegal nationwide with the exception of four disparate areas encompassing the Primorye Integrated Entertainment Resort zone near the port city of Vladivostok, parts of the Kaliningrad Oblast on the Baltic Sea, sections of central Asia’s Altai Krai and the Shcherbinovsky district some 43 miles southwest of Azov.

Demoted in favor of rivals:

However, President Vladimir Putin reportedly approved an amendment to this measure in May of 2016 that disqualified Shcherbinovsky district in favor of the Krasnaya Polyana area near the Black Sea port city of Sochi, which had been added to the list of permitted zones in 2014 after hosting that year’s XXII Olympic Winter Games, alongside portions of the recently-annexed Crimea Peninsula.

Uncertain future: reported that the Shcherbinovsky district was the first of the new Russian gambling regions to host a casino while four such venues still remain in operation. Of these, Shambala Casino from local firm CJSC Shambala is purportedly the largest and recently inaugurated a new 105-room hotel tower complete with a five-star spa.

The last decade has reportedly seen CJSC Shambala and Kazan-based rival Royal Time Group invest over $91.2 million into bringing casinos to the Shcherbinovsky district and the pair has continually been seeking assurances from Moscow that all of this cash has not been spent in vain.

No compensation forthcoming:

However, reported that casino operators in the Shcherbinovsky district were left bemused earlier this year after draft legislation appeared that would bar them from making any financial claims for the coming closure of the gambling zone. This is purportedly due to the fact that the proposed measure deals solidly with the future and will only allow firms to receive compensation if their area is shuttered within ten years of being designated.