Officials are pondering including Sochi on the list of Russian gambling-friendly areas, in order to save companies that made bad investments in the 2013 Winter Olympics.
As preparations for the 2013 Winter Olympics in Sochi are in full force and turning out to be painfully pricey, rumor has it Russian prime-minister Dmitry Medvedev is considering allowing casino gambling in the area. The event is already turning out to be the most expensive Olympic edition so far, with bills adding up to $50 billion.
According to the latest gambling news in Russian media outlets, Medvedev has already put this idea up for discussion, thinking that casinos are always a great way to attract tourists and get the economy up and running. Later on, one of the prime-minister’s spokesmen denied the rumors, explaining that the idea “was suggested by a member of the banking community.”
Winter Olympics financial fiasco?
It is said that independent investors, as well as state-owned companies involved in the 2013 Winter Olympics planning process have already spent more than they can afford. According to the local media, companies have asked for state assistance to back their huge loans.
This is not good news for Russia or for the businessmen who decided to invest so much money in the event, considering that Winter Olympics have never been as profitable as the more popular summer editions. This is why some business experts are afraid that the Russian edition could turn into a financial fiasco.
Under Russian gambling laws, Kaliningrad, the country’s Far East, the Krasnodar Territory and the Altai region in Siberia are the only areas in Russia where casinos are allowed, but with the issue being so pressing, a committee lead by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak has been assigned to look into the matter.