Russia Mulls Setting Up Gambling Zone in Crimea
The Crimean Peninsula could become a gambling zone, after Russian President Putin introduced Monday a bill into Parliament.
Politicians in Crimea, which was incorporated into Russia following a local referendum on March 16, are however divided over the issue, with governor Sergey Aksyonov declaring himself against such an idea and others strongly in favour, Lenta.ru has reported.
He supports applying such status only for parts of the peninsula.
Aksyonov's deputy, Rustam Temirgaliev, who is in charge of Crimea's tourist sector, approves the gambling area project and sees it as a means to easily attract visitors from beyond Russia.
The governor earlier announced that, upon a green light by the State Duma, a final decision on how to organize the gambling area is to be taken by May 1.
Although gambling is considered illegal under Russian law, four zones have been declared where the activity has special status.
These are presently Altay, parts of Krasnodar and Primorsk and Yantarnaya, in the Baltic Sea exclave Kaliningrad.
Estimates quoted by ITAR-TASS agency show that every year the industry yields a total of USD 5.5 B revenues nationwide, even though only Yantarnaya has been actively developed.
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