Russia eyes turning Crimea into gambling zone

RussiaWhatever Russia’s real intentions are in taking over Crimea, you have to give it to Putin’s posse for quickly drumming up an economic action plan for the Black Sea peninsula that has been annexed from Ukraine.

According to Bloomberg, Russian officials are in the middle of serious discussions on how to stimulate Crimea’s economy, and one of the most heavily talked about scenarios is turning it into a gambling zone. Talks have apparently been going for the past few weeks with Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak at the head of all the discussions.

Russia’s economic stimulus plan for Crimea has vaulted into the top of Russia’s things-to-do list, with an April 15 deadline for the ministries of economy, finance and regional development to present a gambling proposal for Crimea, complete with spending and revenue estimates. The long-term objective for Russia is to turn Crimea into a self-sustaining region that will be less reliant on the state’s budget. With Russia facing the weakest economic outlook since 2009, the country wants to make sure that all its expenses on Crimea will be made judiciously. The region’s already expected to to receive as much as  $2.8 billion of Russia’s emergency funds, but that money isn’t expected to last forever.

In the event that this gambling zone is created, Crimea will be designated as a special economic zone, which will give special tax breaks to companies based in the region, a potential carrot that could be dangled to foreign casino operators. It would also be added as a new casino region on top of the four Russia has already designated.