May 23 – The Russian Federation’s Primorsky Territory wants to construct a casino complex near the port city of Vladivostok, a city on the country’s southeast coast.
A formal announcement by Russian officials and state-owned Nash Dom Primorye Corporation, is expected Wednesday at the Global Gaming Expo Asia in Macau. A website detailing the development plans is expected to go live Wednesday, as well.
Vladivostok, located near China and known more for its oil and gas pipelines, has been undergoing a facelift ahead of hosting an APEC summit in September.
“Over the next five years, the Russian Federation will continue to have a strong strategic interest in the economic development of the Far East region. Our view is that the tourism sector is a strategic economic opportunity that has yet to be fully developed. We believe that the private sector will be interested in the tourism and casino gaming potential of the (entertainment zone),” Marina Lomakina, general director of Nash Dom Primorye, said in a corporation statement.
“We believe the (entertainment zone) will create a compelling experience for Asian tourists seeking a destination that is near, but culturally different.”
She said the entertainment zone, approximately 12 miles from the new Vladivostok International Airport and 31 miles from the city, aims to capitalize on the significant economic growth on Asia’s economies and to create a cultural experience for tourists.
Vladivostok is one of four official Russian government zones where casino gambling is legal but is the only one that has formally initiated plans to lure foreign investors.
That could have been a masterstroke as far as they’re concerned thanks to the short two-hour plane ride to both Seoul and Tokyo from Vladivostok.
Known as the Integrated Entertainment Zone, the project has space for roughly five large resorts.
The masterplan includes luxury hotels, a yacht club, shopping malls as well as outdoor sports such as golf. As it stands now, the zone is 2.6 square kilometers, but can be extended to 6 square kilometers.
The Russian port city has invested US$7 billion over the past five years to develop infrastructure, including a new airport, bridges and a new university ahead of the APEC summit. It is constructing more roads and transport links for the resort zone.
“Russia is growing more integrated into the world. We are aiming to become more understandable to foreign partners and help them do business that is not only in oil and gas but other businesses too,” Lomakina said.
A report from Gaming Market Advisors, which conducts casino market research, estimates the zone could rake in revenues of US$2 to US$7 billion when completed. By comparison, Singapore’s casino area which is similar in size, took in more than US$5 billion in 2011.