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Russia – Putin rules out Sochi casino legacy

By - 11 February 2014

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia’s Winter Olympics city Sochi would not be turned into a casino resort following the Olympics due to the fact that the Black Sea city would compromise its traditional tourists made up of middle-class families with children.

The idea was mooted in December as a way to bridge any losses made to bring the games to Sochi although Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev quickly distanced himself from alleged suggestions that the pot-Olympics casino concept would be viable.

President Putin said: “We already have a gambling zone on the border between the Rostov Region and the Krasnodar Territory, and we even allowed them to access the Black Sea coast. In my opinion, it would be impractical to set up another zone in the region, although it would certainly make things better for investors. It would create an atmosphere that would prevent our citizens from spending their holiday here with their families.”

The Sochi Winter Olympic Games have cost somewhere in the region of $50bn, making it the most expensive Olympics in history.

President Putin added that the investment was made to make Sochi attractive for middle-class tourists, not for a small group of rich casino visitors. The priority had to be to best utilise the infrastructure built for the Olympics.

“We should put into operation everything that has been created and ensure that it works efficiently,” he explained.

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