nder a 2007 law designed to curb gambling in major cities and boost economic growth in poorer regions, casinos and other gaming establishments are to be relocated from Moscow and other cities to four remote Russian centers - in the Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad, Siberia, the Pacific coast and southern Russia - by July 1 this year.
"Our company is reluctant to move business to special areas in regions. Nobody feels like moving there, besides there is no infrastructure in those special zones, and nothing has been built there yet," Lavrenty Gubin from Storm International told RIA Novosti, adding that all the big industry players felt the same.
Gubin said his company would be forced to close most of its gambling outlets from July 1, losing some 80%-85% of its income and making thousands of employees redundant. Storm International runs the Shangri La, JazzTown, New York and Udranik casinos in Moscow.
According to Gubin, Moscow could see underground casinos emerging similar to those in Turkey and Israel after the ban comes into force. Income from gambling tax brings in some us$ 193 million for the local budget, according to the Moscow city government.
Moscow casinos have around 1 million visitors, Gubin said. Las Vegas, where gambling was legalized in 1931, was left behind in terms of income by China's Macau in 2006.