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Where Do Russians Go to Gamble?

Totaling 11% of the landmass of the Earth’s surface – and with a larger surface area than Pluto – Russia is the largest country on the planet. Despite that, it is only home to approximately 144 million residents.

Russia is home to several locations of historic architecture, is known for its vodka production, and has been the birthplace of many incredible thinkers, artists, and musicians. Amongst these are writers like Leo Tolstoy and composers such as Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

While the culture in the country is still deeply traditional, elements of the West have found their way into modern life. Amongst these elements is the entertaining pastime of gambling – which has led to some strict regulations.

Where Do Russians Go to Gamble

Gambling in Russia

Legalized in 1989, gambling was not a common occurrence in the country. However, it slowly grew more prominent over the years until the government decided to intervene. In 2007, Federal law N 244-FZ was passed, prohibiting all forms of gambling in the country – except in four targeted locations.

Due to the number of casinos operating at that time, the law wasn’t fully enforced until 2009. Before this (in 2006), all online forms of gambling had already been outlawed – leaving gamblers with no options to enjoy the activity after the last physical casino shuttered unless they traveled to one of the legal areas.

Incredibly, players quickly found many ways to circumvent the laws without traveling and began registering with online casinos. The number of players grew so extensively that, by 2016, the law prohibiting online casinos was revoked. Casinos licensed and regulated by the government were then allowed.

Although the government changed its stance on online gambling, physical gambling is still limited to specific areas of the country. These areas are known by unique names and fall in the four most populous regions. They are:

  • Siberian Coin (located in Altay)
  • Yantarnaya (in the Kaliningrad region)
  • Azov-city (situated in the Rostov region and changed in 2015 to Sochi in Krasnodar Kray)
  • Primorye (in the Primorie region)

Siberian Coin (Altay)

After the new laws were enacted, Altai Palace Casino was the first casino to open in the Siberian Coin region. Opening in 2014, the casino was just that – a casino without any additional amenities or entertainment options.

However, a year later, more sections of the resort opened. Now, the casino boasts multiple excursion tours into the neighboring area, a relaxing day spa, a hotel and chalets, numerous dining options, and even an entertainment arena for fighting matches and concerts.

Apart from the many impressive family-orientated activities, there is also the main casino floor. Here, gambling Russians can find a variety of digital slot machines, American roulette, various types of poker, blackjack, and punto banco.

Yantarnaya (Kaliningrad region)

Initially planned to be a gambling mecca of sorts, Yantarnaya was chosen as an all-in-one entertainment destination. The area was scheduled to have up to 15 casinos, a water park, multiple hotels, plenty of day spas, a stadium, and plenty of shopping locations.

Unfortunately, these bold plans have yet to be fully established, though there are hopes that the final developments will be completed by 2029. That isn’t to say that gamblers can’t find great chances to try their luck here, though.

The area currently has two leading casinos. Magic Crystal, the first to open, is considered a slot hall more than a full casino. This is because it only offers a limited number of slots.

Sobranie Casino, however, is everything you’d expect from a full casino. It has plenty of slot games and dedicated poker tables alongside roulette and blackjack. It also hosts multiple entertainment events and has several stunning eateries visitors can enjoy.

Azov-City (Rostov Region)/Sochi (Krasnodar Kray Region)

While Azov-city was initially planned to be the third gambling region, the region only lasted a few years. By 2015, the license for the area was revoked, even though there were already three casinos operating in it. The license was moved to Sochi – where the 2014 Winter Olympics were held.

Shortly after the change, the Sochi Casino & Resort (otherwise known as Casino Sochi) was opened near the Olympic Village. The casino, offering slots, baccarat, poker, blackjack, and poker, is the perfect place for those looking to win big.

Aside from gambling, the area also boasts a luxurious hotel, incredible restaurants (including a buffet), shopping venues nearby, and an events venue that hosts concerts throughout the year.

Primorye (Primorie region)

With 11 casino resorts planned to be built in the region, Primorye was destined to be one of the most prominent gambling destinations in not just Russia but much of Europe. Dubbed the Primorye Entertainment Zone, only two notable casinos have been opened in the area.

The Shambala Casino hosts multiple slots, a dedicated poker club, and a luxury hotel for players to check into. There is also an excellent restaurant and bar where visitors can grab food and drinks in between placing bets.

Offering more to see and do, the Tigre de Cristal Hotel and Resort is a luxury casino and hotel. Here, you’ll find a number of great tables alongside the many slots on offer. There are also frequent events and concerts, as well as multiple eateries.

International Gambling Destinations

For Russian players not wanting to visit any of the four regions in their homeland that currently allow legal gambling, they can pick several international destinations. Close to home, these include Monte Carlo, France, and Britain.

Further across the ocean, America and the world-famous Las Vegas are a loved destination for many Russians – who are choosing countries outside of Europe to travel to in recent years.

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