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Place your bets! Casino oasis to rival Macau and Las Vegas set to open this year

By Derek Lambie
21 January 2015

More than 130billion roubles invested in special gambling zone to lure wealthy Asian tourists to Russia, complete with its own beach, marina and ski area.

A second Macau? Picture: First Gambling Company of the East

Plans to create a Las Vegas-style resort in the Russian Far East to rival Macau are finally off the ground with the first mega hotel expected to open this year.

The Russian Government has long had ambitions for a thriving gambling zone that could tempt wealthy Asian tourists away from the traditional destinations in China and the US. Despite announcing proposals for the Primorye region in 2009, it was only last year that international firms began backing the venture, with investments worth $2billion (130billion roubles) signed off.

Located just 50km from the major city of Vladivostok, the new 620-hectare gambling zone is ideally placed for tourists jetting in from China, Hong Kong, Japan and Korea. Plans are in place for a total of 16 hotel casino resorts, a yacht club, a marina with berth for 65 boats, a ski trail, and beaches as well as a business and conference centre.

Now it looks as if the dream will finally be realised in May, when the First Gambling Company of the East opens a four-storey hotel and casino complex.

The firm’s chief executive John Wang said: 'Given the favourable location of Vladivostok, we are sure that [the gaming zone] can become a second Macau'.

Place your bets! Casino oasis to rival Macau and Las Vegas set to open this year  


Place your bets! Casino oasis to rival Macau and Las Vegas set to open this year  


Place your bets! Casino oasis to rival Macau and Las Vegas set to open this year   
The proximity of Vladivostok to China may tip the balance in Russia’s favour. Pictures: First Gambling Company of the East


The Russian Government made plans for four officially designated casino zones after outlawing gambling across most of the country in 2009. Olympic host city Sochi and the annexed Crimea were added to the list of four last year. In November the Siberian Times reported that Siberia opened its first ever casino in a 1billion rouble venture that will create hundreds of jobs and see the introduction of ‘gambler tourism’ to the region.

The Siberian Coin, which is part of the new Altai Palace Hotel Resort opening in April, launched with 16 gaming tables and 20 machines. So far the regional government in the Primorye region has signed deals for the new gambling zone with major firms in Cambodia and Hong Kong as well as in Russia itself.

Cambodia-based NagaCorp and domestic company Royal Time Group plan to start construction work on their own hotel casino resorts later this year. It would be a major economic boost if Russia was to succeed in emulating Macau, which is ranked seventh out of 42 in the wealthiest countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

Indeed, recent figures show that gamblers in Macau manage to wager more in just one day than it takes for the Las Vegas Strip to muster in an entire week.

Gambling revenue in Macau – which is the only legal place in China in which casinos are legal – rose by 19 per cent between 2013 and 2014, with predictions it will be worth $77billion (5,000billion roubles) to the economy by 2017.

Place your bets! Casino oasis to rival Macau and Las Vegas set to open this year   
Deals signed with major firms in Cambodia and Hong Kong. Picture: First Gambling Company of the East


Elsewhere in the Asian region, the Philippines is set to become the fastest-growing gaming market in the world, with a number of resorts due to open this year.

Officials in Manila say the country could even overtake Las Vegas and Singapore to become the second-largest casino market in the world by 2020. The governments of Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Australia are also encouraging foreign investors to build large resorts in a bid to lure overseas visitors.

But the proximity of Vladivostok to China may tip the balance in Russia’s favour, with discreet Chinese gamblers increasingly travelling to foreign casinos to guarantee more privacy than on home soil.

In South Korea, for instance, the number of Chinese gamblers has increased by 17 per cent year-on-year at VIP tables and 25 per cent at public tables.

Comments (6)

Woooohhhhooooo!!!! Bring on the next Bond movie. You could make one while building it and one after it's built. It could be the first ever two part Bond movie. (dibs ... I own that) He could be trying to save the casino from the evil casino owners from Macao and Las Vegas. (Ya American Chines villans, bet ya didn't see that coming.) Then the casino will successfully open and USA will be forced to pay back the money the owes to China. The End.
David Schilz, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
25/01/2015 23:11
1
0
What currency would the winnings be paid??
sallerup, Madison, Alabama
24/01/2015 19:58
0
1
Encouraging more gambling, this...very "Sad"!
Jaker, Dundalk
22/01/2015 05:13
0
3
The present Casino resorts are next to Southern China (Macau, Thailand, Philipines, Australia) while for the 500 million people in Northern China for now the 120 million Japanese there is not a Casino resort, so Vladivostok will play that role. On the midterm there will be much more competition but Vladivostok is unique for its History and is People.
Enrique, Spain
22/01/2015 02:01
3
0
So, I think some Casinos in Vladivostok should make a reference to Russian traditional design buildings (like St Basil cathedral in Moscow) with their colors and shapes.That is what can make the area easy to identify: a traditional Russian style architecture.
Enrique, Spain
22/01/2015 01:47
3
0
The same way as the main characteristic from Macau was its "European" (Portuguese) flavour after centuries of Portuguese presence, Vladivostok is unique in the Far East for the "European" presence, which is still alive with thousands of Europeans living in the city and countryside. That makes Vladivostok "exotic" for Far East Asians. Blonde girls and Cyrilic alphabet. Christian Orthodox churches and the Transiberian rail from the Sea of Japan to Moscow.
Enrique, Spain
22/01/2015 01:45
4
0
1

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