Sochi Casino and Resort Now Open for Business

On January 5th, Russia’s designated gambling zone of Sochi finally got its first land-based casino after the Sochi Casino and Resort opened its doors for business. According to the casino’s official press release, the integrated resort-casino “represents the newest phase in Russia’s zonal casino experiment”, and comes complete with hotels, restaurants, convention rooms, shops, theatre, as well as bars and nightclubs.
The resort’s actual casino floor features 569 slot machines and 70 table games, and unlike Las Vegas’ mass appeal casinos which draw tourists from all around the world, the Sochi Casino is anticipated to appeal more to the high roller market.
Long known to be President Vladimir Putin’s vacation destination of choice, an estimated $50 billion was initially pumped into the Black Sea coast resort in order to prepare it for the 2012 Winter Olympics. Its infrastructure and facilities have since been adapted to appeal to the tourist and gambling industry, with its first casino now expected to attract more than 43,000 guests each month.
According to reports, the Sochi Casino and Resort cost its owner, Domain LLC, around RUB 4 billion ($70m) to complete, and is expected to generate a turnover of around RUB 4.6 billion ($80m) in 2017. Nevertheless, the region which occupies one of the southernmost points of Russia has long drawn visitors there to enjoy its many attractions, including beautiful mountains, coastline, beaches, and nightlife. Commenting on expectations for the future, Evgeniy Kudelya, who heads the country’s Tourism Agency, explained:
“Tourism traffic increased significantly during the last several years and the demand for holidays in Russia and particularly in Sochi is very high. Such assets [casinos] will make a major contribution to solution of one more problem, the off-season problem. Despite the fact that Sochi is the most popular and one of the best resort [areas in Russia], we have the off-season curve and it should be smoothed out”.
Russia has a total of five dedicated gambling zones, including Primorskyi located in Russia’s far east which hosts Lawrence Ho’s Tigre de Cristal; Azov City in Krasnodar; Altai in Siberia; and the Kaliningrad region.

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