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Las Vegas in Crimea? Regional leadership says gambling zone will open for business by 2022

The high-ranking official stressed that the gambling enclave would primarily focus on deep-pocketed, well-off tourists

SIMFEROPOL, October 23. /TASS/. The much-anticipated gambling zone on the southern coast of Crimea will be up and running by 2022, Sergey Aksenov, the region’s top official, said in an interview with TASS.

He added that agreements on the creation of the peninsula’s gambling district would be concluded before the end of 2019.

"All decisions [on the gambling zone] have been fully executed and all agreements will be concluded this year. The site [for the gambling zone] has already been determined at a public hearing. It is going to be the village of Katsiveli. By November, all formal procedures must be completed. Preparations on the site have already started. We must complete everything in two years," Aksenov stated.

When asked if the sanctions levied against the peninsula would scare away potential gamblers, the head of Crimea replied: "I don’t think so."

Aksenov stressed that the gambling enclave would primarily focus on deep-pocketed, well-off tourists.

"They would arrive at the Belbek airport [a military airfield in Sevastopol, where a civilian terminal is now being built — TASS], from where they would drive to the southern coast of Crimea," Aksenov said, giving an example of the possible logistics for gamblers who arrive to play at the casino. He added that with the help of investors, the authorities would be able to organize the gambling zone according to world standards.

The law to create this gambling area in Crimea was signed in 2014. According to expert estimates, this project would help the regional budget earn up to 25 bln rubles ($391 mln) annually.

Earlier, Deputy Chairperson of the Council of Ministers of Crimea and the republic’s Finance Minister Irina Kiviko said that the regional authorities sent a package of documents on the gambling zone’s creation to Russia’s Ministry of Finance. Currently, the transfer of the land plot owned by the republic to an investor is underway.