UPDATE: A Medvedev spokesman has since denied that the prime minister ever made such a proposal, saying the idea “was suggested by a member of the banking community.”
Sochi is currently in the middle of preparations to host the 2013 Winter Olympics but the rising costs the city has spent to host the quadrennial event has Russia prime minister Dmitry Medvedev thinking of turning it into a gambling zone.
Medvedev has already proposed the idea, according to media outlets in Russia. The big question is whether he’s going to receive the support to see his proposal through. One thing that has become painfully evident is that Sochi may have underestimated the costs incurred in hosting the Olympics. It already has a $50 billion tab on its hands, hands down the most expensive cost for an Olympics in history. The fact that this is the Winter Olympics and not the more popular Summer Olympics is a testament to the insane price tag the city has had to deal with just to have its three weeks in the global spotlight.
So what’s the best way to offset that much money being thrown around? How about them casinos!
It’s certainly not helping the city that businessmen and state-owned companies have been reportedly forced to ask for state assistance just so they can pay back all the loans they took out because they decided it was such a genius idea to back the Olympics. It could still turn out that way if the Olympics turns out golden for the city.
But if it doesn’t, it’s facing huge costs that it’s going to have trouble recouping.
Medvedev, though, sees a solution. And wouldn’t you know, a big part of involves those glistening establishments where people can go play with their money in the hopes of going home with more.
Казино, детка! (Casinos, baby!)
There’s no telling how Medvedev’s suggestion to turn Sochi into a gambling zone, joining Kaliningrad, the country’s Far East, the Krasnodar Territory and the Altai region in Siberia, as the only four designated zones in all of Russia where gambling is allowed.
A committee has been set up under the leadership of Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak to look into the matter so keep posted on this development to see whether Russia adds a new gambling destination to its list of allowed places or if Medvedev’s proposal goes up in smoke the way they usually do when they extinguish the Olympic flame after the games.