Russia weighs up sixth casino zone

Russia is rumoured to be contemplating a sixth casino-friendly zone.

Media outlets claim that businessman and Senator Suleiman Kerimov has partnered with the Nafta Moscow investment group to build an entertainment complex worth $100 million “on the site of sea trade port in Makhachkala.”

According to Izvestia, the resort will boast a yacht club, a hotel, a shopping centre together with betting shops and a brace of casinos.

A portrait image of Russian businessman Suleiman Kerimov


Nafta Moscow denies Makhachkala development

Nafta Moscow’s press officer is singing quite a different tune, however; “This information is completely untrue. The Group has not had and does not have such plans never ordered any construction projects of shopping and entertainment center on the territory of the Makhachkala commercial port and has not taken or intends to take in the future, any steps to ‘the development of a gambling zone in Dangestan.”

Should the story turn out to be true, Kerimov will have to overcome major obstacles if Makhachkala is to become a casino-friendly area. Russia’s 2009 legislation outlaws casino gambling in the country, except for in the Primorsky Territory in Russia’s Far East, the Kaliningrad Oblast, Altai Krai, Azov-City and the former Olympic city of Sochi.


Tax hike could scotch new casino plan

Another headache facing Kerimov is the fact a new casino in Makhachkala could be hit by an increase in gaming device tax after the government has drafted an amendment seeking to establish a band of RUB50,000 to RUB250,000 ($840 – $4,202) per table per month and RUB3,000 to RUB15,000 $50.43 – $252.13) for each slot machine.

There is no formal GGR tax in the country, but the Russian government requires casinos to pay a monthly device tax for each table game and slot machine that they have in operation. Licensees in Primorye pay RUB125,000 ($2,101) per table monthly and RUB7,500 ($126) per slot machine for one month, according to brokerage Union Gaming Securities Asia Ltd.

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Nigel Frith