Russia and the gambling business: playing Russian roulette
2009 was a turning point for the domestic gambling business. From July XNUMX, all activities related to the organization and conduct of gambling became possible only in special gambling zones on the territory of four constituent entities of the Russian Federation (Kaliningrad Region and Altai, Krasnodar and Primorsky Territories). For fourteen years, representatives of this market segment have learned to live by the new rules. Let's try to figure out what principles the Russian gambling business is currently operating on.
Since the nineties of the last century, the gambling market has been actively developing in Russia. This state of affairs was facilitated by the ease of obtaining gambling licenses and a benevolent attitude towards the participants in this sector. economics from the local authorities, on whose shoulders in those years lay the responsibility for the placement of gambling facilities. It is worth noting that, according to experts, by 2005 the financial turnover of the gambling industry in the Russian Federation reached 5-6 billion dollars, there were about 400 thousand slot machines and 5 thousand gaming tables in the country, most of which were located in Moscow, the Moscow region and St. Petersburg.
Over time, in the leading circles of the state, the position is increasingly being voiced that certain restrictions should be imposed on the gambling business in the country. This position is formed due to a number of socio-social (widespread "gambling addiction" in Russia) and economic (a huge number of semi-legal and illegal gambling establishments) reasons. In 2006, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin made a proposal to solve urgent problems in the gambling business, which consisted in creating a new mechanism for state regulation of activities related to the organization and conduct of gambling. The result was a new federal law adopted at the end of the calendar year, which completely changed the state of affairs in this market segment.
Thus, since 2009, the gambling business has been completely prohibited on the territory of the state, with the exception of five specially organized gambling zones in the Altai, Krasnodar and Primorsky Territories, as well as in the Kaliningrad Region. In 2014, the Republic of Crimea added to the list of such regions. In parallel with this, mass inspections of representatives of the gambling business started throughout the country, in many cases the fact of the absence of a license to organize and conduct gambling was established. So, many Russians still remember the sensational “Case of Moscow Region Casinos”, which ended in a major official conflict between the Investigative Committee and the Prosecutor's Office of the Russian Federation.
The first major changes in connection with the adoption of the new law can be associated with the construction of the Azov-City gambling zone in the Krasnodar Territory. The estimated investment in the implementation of this project was estimated at 80 billion rubles. In 2010, the opening of the first casino, the Oracle, was announced. However, already in 2015, a decision was made to liquidate the objects that appeared, the reason was the creation of the Krasnaya Polyana gambling zone in Sochi, and one of the provisions of the new law prohibited the existence of two gambling zones on the territory of one subject. On December 31, 2018, Azov City ceased to exist. During its operation, the first gambling zone in the country brought only 1,2 billion rubles to the regional budget.
In 2014, the first casino was opened as part of the Siberian Coin gambling zone in the Altai Territory. At the moment, this gambling zone is developing steadily, increasing the number of visitors and demonstrating good performance in terms of the number of tax collections to the treasury of the region. In 2018, residents of the gambling zone paid more than 62 million rubles in taxes to the budget.
A year later, the Tigre de Cristal casino in the Primorsky Territory opened its doors to visitors, becoming the first object of the Primorye gambling zone. A feature of this zone is its orientation towards visitors from neighboring countries (Japan, China). Confirmation of this fact is the conclusion of contracts with investors from the countries of Southeast Asia. Unfortunately, the latest geopolitical events in the world indicate that in the very near future the development vector of this gambling zone may change dramatically.
In 2016, the first object of the Yantarnaya gambling zone in the Kaliningrad region was put into operation. The history of its appearance is associated with construction difficulties and problems in finding potential investors. The total volume of investments in the integrated development of the entire territory until 2029 is estimated at 45 billion rubles.
One of the most popular gambling zones in Russia among gamblers is undoubtedly Krasnaya Polyana, which has already been mentioned above. The first casino in the territory of the zone was opened in 2017; the holding of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi contributed to the further development of the territory. Already at the end of 2019, the amount of tax deductions to the budget of the Krasnodar Territory amounted to more than 2,5 billion rubles, which exceeded the expectations of many experts.
In 2022, the construction of a casino began on the territory of the Golden Coast gambling zone in Crimea. Economic expectations from the implementation of this project amount to 25 billion rubles in the form of budget revenues annually.
It is necessary to pay attention to the fact that the gambling business for the Russian Federation combines enormous opportunities for obtaining tax revenues and an abundance of moral, social and political dilemmas. According to experts, before the adoption of the law on the creation of gambling zones in the country, casinos brought the Russian budget about 380 billion rubles in taxes per year. Currently, this figure is only 1,5 billion rubles. In this regard, we can conclude that many market representatives simply went underground, which is why the budget of the Russian Federation misses a significant share of tax revenues. The opposite side of the issue lies in the moral and ethical problems associated with gambling. Many people are unable to control themselves during the game, ending up in a difficult financial situation, which ultimately leads to negative social phenomena (alcoholism, drug addiction and crime).
The most important thing is that in this situation the country's authorities should be able to find a "golden mean" between restrictive measures and access to gambling for the conscious part of the country's population. Taking into account the opinions of all interested parties will save money for the Russian budget without creating additional social tension in society.
- Author: Viktor Anufriev