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Belarus – Casinos closing in Minsk as Russian downturn affects play

By - 19 October 2015

Belarus, known affectionately as ‘the Russian Las Vegas’ has seen a flood of closures recently as Russian VIP players, hit by a downturn in the rouble, have stayed away from casinos in the capital of Minsk.

2015 has seen gaming floors go out of business at Bakara, Millennium, Mirage, Victoria and Zolotoi Arbuz.

Industry sources believe that all but a few high-end casinos will close in Minsk.

Located only one and a half hours away from Moscow by plane, Minsk had boomed following the closure of casinos throughout Russia in the summer of 2008 but now, the affects of falling oil prices and western sanctions, have seen the rouble half in value, sending Russia into recession.

One of the leading casinos in the capital, Shangri-La is owned by former Russian operator Storm, has seen Russian players, who account for 80 per cent of the casino’s GGR, fall by 20 per cent.
Many analysts though believe that Minsk is still a better option than Russia’s four designated gambling zones.

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