The Russian law “About the State Regulation of Activities on Gambling” comes into effect tomorrow, forcing many casinos to shut their doors. .
Although Vladimir Putin could not have foreseen the economic crisis when the law was proposed in 2006, the implementation could not have come at a worse time for Russia. An estimated 400’000 people work in the industry and the four designated ‘Las Vegas’ zones have not been built. Although Russia was flooded with new building sites in 2006, many of these have come to a halt due to a lack of finance.
In addition, the immigration quotas have been now been halved to deal with rising unemployment in the country. This has sent many CIS workers central to the building industry back to their countries of origin. Although we have seen some economic recovery this summer, tied to the rising value of commodities, it is unlikely these super-zones will be operational soon.
As I wrote back in March, some of this casinos will try to turn themselves into private poker clubs, taking advantage of reclassification of poker as a sport. However this law will inevitably push more casinos to move online and intensify the competition there.