he Rostov and Krasnodar regions are to host one of four gambling zones to accommodate casinos and other gaming establishments to be moved from Moscow and other cities by July 1 this year, under a 2007 law designed to curb gambling addiction in major cities and boost economic growth in poorer regions.
Gambling companies have published a letter sent to local authorities and legislatures, and the president’s envoy, asking them to support a bill drafted by the assembly of the Far Eastern Primorye Territory, which proposed a delay in casino closures until the end 2012. The central government has not approved the bill.
"The infrastructure of the Azov City gambling zone has not been built," the association said. "Its construction cannot be accelerated due to the global financial crisis and the regional budgets’ deficits." "There will still be an uncultivated field in the area designated for the gambling zone by July 1, 2009," the letter said.
The companies said illegal gambling would flourish and unemployment would grow as casinos and other gaming establishments closed down. About 30% of casinos have been closed down across the country since January 2007, but the four gambling zones - also to be situated in the far-flung Altai Territory, Primoriye Territory, and the Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad - are still at the planning stage.
Many gambling firms have switched to other businesses, started illegal gambling businesses under the guise of Internet cafes or other establishments, or moved investment abroad, mainly to Latin American and Africa.
"We propose... that regional authorities support the legislative initiative by the Primorye Territory’s assembly, which would enable the preservation of jobs, an increase the regions’ tax revenues from the gambling business, and would help investors build modern gaming facilities and create new jobs," the letter said.