Russia’s far east gaming zone plans to develop a horseracing business in a bid to attract race betting tourists to the geographically isolated Primorye region outside Vladivostok.
This week, the state-owned Development Corporation of the Primorsky Territory announced that it had granted resident status to Primorsky Hippodrome JSC, which plans to team with Russian Hippodromes JSC on a “multi-purpose investment project” to develop the local racing industry.
The project, which carries an estimated total price tag of RUB 2.4b (US $41.5m), includes two racing tracks, a 250-room hotel and other entertainment options. The project’s design is expected to be finalized by next spring, with principal construction finished by 2020 and an official launch by May 2021.
The project is the latest plank in the local government’s bid to boost tourism to the region, which hopes to establish itself as a leading gaming destination in the already crowded Asia-Pacific casino market.
G1 Entertainment’s Tigre de Cristal is currently only casino doing business in Primorye and its business has steadily increased since it opened its doors in October 2015. The casino’s second phase is targeted for an H2 2019 opening.
The timing of Tigre de Cristal’s Phase II will coincide with the projected opening of Primorye’s second gaming venue, Naga Vladivostok, which is the first international development of Cambodian casino operator NagaCorp. In June, Russian operator Diamond Fortune Holdings broke ground on its $900m Selena resort casino.
Russia recently simplified the visa regime for foreign visitors from 18 countries traveling to Vladivostok, resulting in 30% more direct weekly flights to the region in August than there were one year earlier. Primorye’s leaders recently stated that they were having talks with Japanese airlines about establishing direct flights between Vladivostok and Sapporo.
By 2022, Primorye hopes to have at least three casinos and its new racetrack up and running, which local officials hope will boost tourist visitation to 8m per year.