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Russia – Azov City granted January 1 2019 operating deadline

By - 6 May 2016

Casinos in the closing Russian gaming Zone of Azov City have been told they must close by the start of 2019.

The State Duma has approved a bill to extend the licences in the Azov City gambling zone in the Scherbinovskiy region.

Three casinos are in operation in the gambling zone; Casino Shambala, Casino Nirvana and Oracul Casino. However the State Duma signed off a bill to develop two more gambling zones in Crimea and Sochi in the summer of 2014, spelling the end of the gambling zone in Azov City. The casinos in Azov City were given a deadline of April 1, 2015 to close but some took legal action demanding that they were reimbursed for their investments which are believed to be as high as US$37.2m.

At least two of the casinos have refused to shut and are still in operation. They are all expected to try and claim compensation for their investment. Shambala, which operates two of the casinos, has said it wants $145m to compensate for ‘all costs and loss of profit.’ The move will leave over 2,500 people unemployed in Azov City. In 2015 the Azov City was visited by about 500,000 people.

The order has come from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is looking to boost the chances of new gaming zone and former Olympic host city Sochi. The Russian authorities spent $51bn on transforming the seaside town of Sochi so the gaming zone is seen as a way to pay some money back.

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