Mongolia revives casino plans; Sochi gets first casino operator

TAGs: mongolia, Russia, sochi

mongolia-casino-plansMongolia is taking another stab at launching its own casino market, despite a two-decade history of failed attempts.

This week, Russia’s UlanMedia reported that Mongolia’s government was reviving legislation that would authorize a casino and racetrack near the country’s border with Buryatia, a federal subject of Russia.

There are also musings about putting casinos near the international airport of Mongolia’s capital Ulan Bator, as well as in the Zamyn-Üüd district near the southern border with China and in the Altanbulag village that lies just across the border from the Russian town of Kyakhta. Licenses would be valid for 10-year periods, with fees of MNT 20-27b (US $8.3m-$11.2m).

Mongolia has made several failed efforts to launch a casino market dating back to 1997. The latest push began last year and Australia’s Frontier Capital Group was in line to become Mongolia’s first casino licensee before backing out in February.

Part of the problem facing Mongolia’s casino ambitions is its reluctance to allow local residents to gamble, hence the positioning of casinos near airports or the borders with other nations, and it just so happens that Mongolia’s neighbours have governments that also place restrictions on allowing their own residents to visit casinos.

Russia has ghettoized its own casino operations into a handful of geographically isolated gaming zones. The latest of these zones, Krasnaya Polyana, is located on undeveloped land in the Sochi area that hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics.

This week, Russian officials announced the issuance of the first Krasnaya Polyana casino license to LLC Domain, an offshoot of Singapore-based construction outfit Silverron International.

Domain is led by Mikhail Danilov, who has interests in two other Russian gaming zones as well as stakes in bookmakers Bingo Boom and Star Bet. Domain says it plans to soft-launch its new Sochi casino on Christmas Eve, with an official grand opening early in the new year.


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