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St Petersburg, Primorye considers casino cruise ships

Primorye Territory Vice Governor Andrei Tarasenko is considering allowing casino cruise ships in a bid to attract foreign punters, local media reports.

The ship is expected to run between Russian far-eastern ports and those of Japan, Korea and China.

Tarasenko told investors during a meeting that “co-financing will allow you to expand your business and organize a casino on board of the ship”, to which the investors reportedly showed interest in.

During the meeting, Diamond Fortune Holdings representative Sergei Sidorov said: "We are ready to consider in detail the possibility of participating in the acquisition of the vessel."

At the same meeting, Primorye investors announced their plan to set up a professional association of gaming companies of Russia’s Far East. Its participants will include NagaCorp, G1 Entertainment, and Diamond Fortune Holdings Prim, with representatives of the last two companies taking the lead in the association.

Several days later a similar proposal was voiced by St Petersburg authorities. They asked Kaliningrad head Anton Alikhanov to jointly launch a cruise ferry operator, ensuring him that they plan gaming facilities on board.

According to Alikhanov, such a vessel going to neutral waters (Kaliningrad borders Baltic states) may be “a warm-up” for its passengers before arriving in Kaliningrad Region, where one of Russia's gambling zones is operating.

The St Petersburg authorities said they plan to buy an ice-class vessel so that it was able to cruise in winter. They are expected to send to Kaliningrad an agreement and a roadmap of the projects to assess its economic prospects.

The ferry link between Kaliningrad and St Petersburg was severed in 2010 due to the lack of infrastructure, but now a new port is being built near the Kaliningrad Region resort of Svetlogorsk, which is close to the local gambling zone.

Kaliningrad Region has a special economic zone status, which means that investors in the projects on its territory are entitled to not pay taxes on profit.

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