Russian casino opens under new laws

Russian casino opens under new laws

January 31, 2010.

It's hardly Vegas - a large shed-like building in the middle of a snow-covered field 60 miles from the nearest reasonably sized city - Rostov-on-Don. But the newly opened Orakul Casino represents a fresh start for a Russian gambling industry that was almost obliterated by draconian government action that banned it to four remote regions in the vast country last July.

About 500 people showed up for the opening of the Orakul casino in Above City, a gambling zone in southern Russia, reports the news agency Tass. But only about a hundred of them appeared to be actually placing bets on the casino's 200 slot machines and 10 table games.

The casino owners remained upbeat, however, saying they were convinced there's a market and they plan to start building a four-star hotel for gamblers this summer.

"There's a lot of gambling people here in the region", said Valery Saparin, marketing director for casino operator Royal Time. "We hope that a lot of people will be drawn to us in the near future."

In a brief opening ceremony, the official permission for activities to organise gambling games in the Azov City zone was presented to the Royal Time president Rashid Taimasov.

New Russian laws limit legalised gambling to Azov City, the Kaliningrad exclave on the Baltic Sea, the Altai region of Siberia and the Primorsky region of Russia's Far East.

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