he newspaper Kommersant said Medvedev broached the subject of casinos at a recent meeting convened by government officials seeking ways to offset losses expected by investors, including state-owned companies, on the large amounts of money they have ploughed into the development of Sochi ahead of the games. With a price tag of more than US$ 50 billion, the Sochi games are the most expensive Olympics of all time.
That Medvedev is backing the plan was hotly denied by his press secretary Natalia Timakova. “Some businessmen are obviously trying to give their ideas more weight by putting words into the premier's mouth.”
The Kremlin banished casinos from Russia’s major cities in 2009, restricting them to four designated zones in more remote areas of the country: in the Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad, the southern Krasnodar region near the Black Sea, Altai in Central Asia, and the Primorye region, which includes Vladivostok, in the country’s Far East, where an investment group controlled by Macau casino operator Lawrence Ho and Cambodia’s NagaCorp both plan to develop resort casinos targeting the northern China market.