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Putin Against Turning Sochi Into Gambling Zone

The Kremlin banned gambling in Russia in 2009, except for four designated zones across the country.

Source : RIA Novosti / 11 Feb 2014

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that he was against turning Sochi into a gambling resort after the Olympics, because the Black Sea city would then lose its traditional holidaymakers – middle-class families with children.

The Kommersant newspaper reported in December that the proposal had been voiced by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as the government sought ways to offset losses expected to be made by businesses that invested in the development of Sochi ahead of the Olympics.

“We already have a gambling zone on the border between the Rostov Region and the Krasnodar Territory, and we even allowed them to access the Black Sea coast. In my opinion, it would be impractical to set up another zone in the region, although it would certainly make things better for investors,” Putin said at a meeting with members of the Sochi Olympic public council.

The Kremlin banned gambling in Russia in 2009, except for four designated zones across the country. These zones are located in the Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad, the country’s Far East, the southern Krasnodar territory and Siberia’s Altai region.

Putin said that turning Sochi into a gambling zone “would create an atmosphere that would prevent our citizens from spending their holiday here with their families.”

With a price tag of over $50 billion, the Sochi Games are the most expensive Olympics of all time. Putin said the money was invested to make Sochi attractive for middle-class tourists, not for a small group of rich visitors “who can afford losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in a casino.”

Putin said the priority for the coming years would be to make the most of the infrastructure built for the Olympics.

“We should put into operation everything that had been created and ensure that it works efficiently,” the president said.


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