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Gambling business in CIS countries

Gambling business in CIS countries Share

Our article is devoted to the gambling business status in three countries: Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.

May 15 2009 became black day for gamblers and casino owners in Ukraine. Verhovna Rada created new law banning gambling business in Ukraine. This ban was temporary, till the creation of special legislation determining special territories where gambling is allowed. Prohibition was caused by the human tragedy in Dnipropetrovsk where people died in fire in the gambling hall. Many people considered this law populist and unconsidered decision of Ukrainian government. This law resulted in loss of 200 000 working positions and bankruptcy of hundreds of gambling companies. But gambling business have not disappeared, it became the part of shadow economy. Thousands of casinos operate without appropriate state control, and state does not get great part of taxes paid by legal licensed casinos. 2011 brought some hope for Ukrainian casinos in the form of draft legislation on gambling business. According to it, gambling is allowed only in casinos and online intellectual game clubs. Ukrainians will be able to gamble only within territory of Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Casinos must be situated in three-, four- and five-star hotels with hotel room number not less than 60. We'll hope the draft to become a law, and the government will be able to regulate and control gambling in Ukraine.

There is also gambling prohibition in Russia (July 1, 2009), but it differs a lot from the Ukrainian one. There are 4 gambling zones where gamble organizations can operate. These zones are "Sibirskaya Moneta" (Altai Krai), "Primor'ye" (Primorski Krai), "Yantarnaya" (Kaliningrad region), "Azov-city" (territory of Krasnodar Krai and Rostov Region). Gambling zones project was created in 2006. Zones are not ready yet. Beside, gambling houses there will be five-star hotels, restaurants, bars, sport and recreational complexes, transport system in the gambling zones. Budget of every zone is measured with billion of dollars. It is planned that state investments are not more than 20%, the rest is at the cost of investors – owners of future casinos and entertainment complexes. First legal casinos ("Oracul" and "Shambala") opened their doors in "Azov-city" gambling zone. In 2010 Rostov part of "Azov-city" was excluded from the gambling zone list because of its unprofitability and unpopularity, the Krasnodar part is planned to be moved from the Azov coast to Black Sea's one. Such decisions of Russian government can frighten potential investors away.

Gambling Mecca for citizens of Russia and Ukraine became the territory of Belarus where gambling is legally authorized. Russian and Ukrainian gambling giants, limited with law on the motherland, decided to establish casinos in this country. Lately, gambling in Belarus saw a lot of changes. They are taxation reform, stiffening of requirements to the placement of casinos in government offices; it is planned to provide general online control on financial operations of all casinos. Belarus isn't the most popular country for tourism (although there are a lot of places worth to visit), but gambling world made some changes here. Now you can see the advertisement of casino-tours and weekend tours to Homel and Minsk where you can appreciate "perfect service and the atmosphere of comfort and luxuriance". Casino tours or junket tours are usually organized by casino managers willing to increase their casino visitors number. Organizers take care of flight to the destination city, safety transfer from the airport, hotel booking, and the main thing – providing comfortable and pleasant game in casino.

Nowadays you can visit legal casino only in the Republic of Belarus. Ukrainians are waiting for gambling legislation passing; Russians are waiting for gambling zones to be finished. Of course, visiting "live" casino is unforgettable event, but we should mention that minimal bets of such casinos are maximal for the most of population of each of three countries. Offline casino is still the privilege of rich people (this is the situation on the post-Soviet territory). Of course, we mean legal licensed casinos. But gamblers should not be despaired; they can always find reputable legal online casinos.

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