In Moscow Russia: July 1st 2009 is the Day the Casinos Will Close!

This July 1st 2009, will mark an interesting day in Russia! Some say that nothing will happen. Some say that officials will just get more bribes. Some say that the casino business will just move out of Russia. Some say…

No matter what some say: The fact that the Kremlin is trying to close down gambling in Russia and steer all future gambling development to a specific area is good.

Under 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 regions – in the Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad, southern Siberia’s Altai territory, Primorye on the Pacific coast, and in southern Russia on the border of the Krasnodar territory and the Rostov region – by July 1 this year 2009.

I know that this is a good thing for Moscow and money is not an incentive to keep the casinos – (According to information from the Moscow city government, income revenue from gambling taxes contributes some 6 billion rubles ($193 million) to the capital’s budget per year. Moscow has around 30 casinos, with around 1 million visitors last year, and about 500 smaller gambling halls.) So this is a drop in the bucket compared to the issues that these casinos cause and rumor has it that many of these casinos have stopped paying taxes a year ago out of spite..

Svet and I have had the pleasure many times of having to walk around these neon monoliths in Moscow. Whole blocks are devoted sometimes to a Las Vegas style facade. The Mercedes, Audi’s, BMW, Hummers and Land Rovers are parked blocking the sidewalks, uncaring that pedestrians need to walk on these same paths.

I guess that we will watch and see what happens in the next week. As Svet and I travel Moscow we will looking at whether the casinos are closed…

Windows to Russia!
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