leg Boyko, the Russian billionaire who is currently ranked Russia’s 65th-richest man by Forbes magazine, said Ritzio is seeking us$ 500 million to acquire further gaming chains in Europe and Latin America, while parent company Finstar Financial Group will look for us$ 1 billion of new funds to bolster its retail chains and property business. The money, according to Boyko, will be raised through loans, bond sales and personal investment.
The industry has long been aware of Ritzio’s plans to expand outside its core eastern European market, after the Russian government announced that from June next year gambling would be confined to four relatively undeveloped regions beyond the nation’s main cities.
The company entered the German market in August 2007, opening its first gaming club in Bremen. Thanks to the success of Vulkan Stern Automatencasinos, a German version of the high-quality Volcano brand, the group now has 160 gaming clubs in the country.
Last month, Ritzio added slot machine halls in Serbia. Now, according to Boyko, who owns approximately 75 per cent of the company, Ritzio is also looking at Japan and aims to expand in the Czech Republic, Romania, Columbia, Ukraine and Italy.
The impending change to Russian gaming regulation has drawn outcries from many operators in the region, and Boyko was notoriously quoted as stating of the matter: "The state wants to be holier than the Pope in Rome."
Last month, however, InterGaming reported that a stay of execution may be in the works for the Russian casino industry, as the constant lobbying of Parliament for an extension appeared to be bearing fruit.